The general who heads up the U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur came to London last week to talk up his much-maligned force, now almost a year old. "Many have said, 'UNAMID, you are so useless'," says Gen. Martin Luther Agwai. "I say if you go to the grass roots in Darfur, so many good little things are happening every day." Just last week, for instance, a UNAMID patrol intervened to stop two villages from fighting over cattle rustling. More good things might happen if Agwai had the 26,000 troops and 24 military helicopters promised by his U.N. Security Council mandate; so far, only 10,400 personnel and no choppers have deployed. The remaining manpower is delayed by a "nightmare of challenges," from crumbling infrastructure to rebel infighting.
Agwai will be happy if he is able to achieve full deployment by the time his tour of duty ends next June. Will there be peace in Sudan by then? "You and I know there is no peace to keep in Darfur."