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Nigeria to Deploy 2,000 Troops to Darfur

Nigeria has approved the deployment of 2,000 peacekeeping troops to Sudan's troubled Darfur region.

A defense spokesman, Brigadier General Ganiyu Adewale, says the first 700 soldiers will leave for Darfur on Friday.

They will boost an African Union force monitoring a shaky cease-fire in the region.

The A.U. force now consists of more than 2,000 soldiers and hundreds of civilian police officers. Nigerian troops already are part of the force. Officials hope to increase the size of the force to 12,000 by next year.

The conflict in Darfur pits rebels against government backed-militias. The violence has left tens of thousands of people dead and more than two million displaced.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.