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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 December, 2004, 20:21 GMT
Year-end target for Darfur troops
By Jonah Fisher
BBC News, Khartoum

AU soldier in Darfur, Sudan
Only about a third of the troops have arrived
The new head of the African Union observer mission to Sudan says he is hopeful that it will have completed deployment by the end of the year.

Baba Gana Kingibe, a former Nigerian foreign minister, arrived in Khartoum on Saturday to take over control of the observer mission in Darfur.

It is over six weeks since the African Union voted to increase its mission to Darfur, but deployment has been slow.

Less than one third of its planned mission of 3,300 troops are in place.

Mainly Rwandan and Nigerian observers have arrived.

Speaking in Khartoum, Mr Kingibe said more troops would reach the area soon.

"We have taken measures three days ago to speed up this and we have established certain timelines," he said.

"By the end of December we should have all the complements of the troops on the ground."

According to Mr Kingibe, both the funding and the troops for the mission are now ready - it is just a question of the American contractors building enough camps to house them.

When the 3,300 AU troops do all arrive, they will be confronted with a difficult job - monitoring a tattered ceasefire across an area the size of France.

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