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Military observers to go to Darfur

The government has approved the sending of up to four unarmed military observers to Darfur as part of the joint United Nations and African Union mission in Sudan.

The Swiss officers will be deployed to the UNAMID headquarters in El Fasher where they will share responsibility for operations, logistics and training.

The aim of the UNAMID peacekeeping mission is to protect civilians as well as contribute to the safety of humanitarian organisations bringing aid to the war-torn region.

It is also responsible for overseeing agreements between the various factions, supporting the political process and monitoring and reporting on the situation along Sudan's border with Chad and the Central African Republic.

Earlier this week, the mission said one of its helicopters was hit as it ferried food supplies 70 kilometres southwest of El Fasher.

International experts say 200,000 people have died and 2.7 million have been driven from their homes since mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government in 2003, accusing it of leaving the region underdeveloped.

The Sudan government says 10,000 have died.

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