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African Union Troops Due in Darfur Sunday - 2004-10-16


The African Union says a battalion of peacekeeping troops will arrive in Darfur by Sunday, the first unit of a 4,500-strong force ordered to end continuing violence and restore a cease-fire in Sudan's troubled western region.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, the current chairman of the African Union, says troops from Rwanda will be the first to arrive in Darfur. Another battalion of nearly 800 Nigerian troops will join them within two weeks, and plans call for the full peacekeeping force of 4,500 troops to be deployed by the end of November.

Multinational talks about the situation in Darfur were scheduled to resume in Nigeria during the coming week, but President Obasanjo told diplomats in Abuja Friday that the meetings are being moved to the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Separate peace talks in Nairobi between Sudanese rebels and officials from Khartoum have adjourned for Ramadan, a month of prayers and fasting for most Muslims.

The World Health Organization says poverty and illness have taken 70,000 lives in Darfur since March, and hundreds more people are at risk of dying every day unless international aid efforts are improved.

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