Nigerian soldiers on Darfur mission return home

LAGOS - About 170 Nigerian soldiers with an African Union peacekeeping force in western Sudan's Darfur region have returned home after serving out their six-month deployment, an army officer said yesterday.

LAGOS - About 170 Nigerian soldiers with an African Union peacekeeping force in western Sudan's Darfur region have returned home after serving out their six-month deployment, an army officer said yesterday.

"The soldiers were flown home on Monday. They were received at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos by senior military officers," he said.

They will be replaced by another Nigerian deployment. The soldiers, who spent six months in Darfur, were part of the AU force of 7000 under-equipped and under-financed troops due to be replaced by a hybrid AU-UN force of 26000 known as Unamid.

Unamid is tasked with ending almost five years of bloodshed in which more than 200000 people have died from the effects of war, famine and disease in Darfur, while 2,2 million others have been left homeless.

The conflict began when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated regime and state-backed Arab militias. - Sapa-AFP

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