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Volume 503: debated on Wednesday 6 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on trends in the numbers of (a) shootings and (b) kidnappings of peacekeepers and humanitarian workers in Darfur and the surrounding region; and what steps he plans to take in consequence. (309133)

We strongly condemn the attacks of 4 and 5 December 2009 which killed five Rwandan peacekeepers and brought to 22 the number of African Union-UN mission in Darfur (UNAMID) personnel killed since 1 January 2008. There has also been a worrying increase in the number of kidnappings in Darfur and the surrounding region. Two civilian UNAMID peacekeeping staff were released on 13 December 2009 after more than three months of being held hostage. Four humanitarian workers kidnapped in Darfur and the border regions of Chad and the Central African Republic remain in captivity: one has now been held for over two months.

We closely monitor levels of insecurity and lawlessness in Darfur. These remain high. The UK continues to work closely with both UNAMID and Chief Mediator Bassolé as well as with international partners and the Government of Sudan towards creating a stable and secure Darfur. We have committed in excess of £100 million to improving UNAMID’s deployment and operational capacity, and we strongly press all parties to give it the space to fulfil its full mandate. We call for the immediate release of the four international aid workers who remain in captivity.