9 Jul 2011

New peacekeeping force for South Sudan

6:03 am on 9 July 2011

The United Nations Security Council has voted to establish a new peacekeeping force for South Sudan, which will become an independent country on Saturday.

The force will involve up to 7000 and an additional 900 civilian police.

The BBC reports the resolution is basically a rebranding of a force which is already in Sudan, mostly in the south.

The government in Khartoum has said their mandate would not be renewed.

The 1000 troops in the disputed town of Abyei are to be replaced by 4,200 Ethiopian soldiers.

Recent fighting in the Abyei and South Kordofan border areas has forced some 170,000 people from their homes.

A peace deal in 2005 ended years of civil war in which some 1.5 million people died.

A subseqent referendum on independence was favoured by more than 99% of voters.

Independence celebrations will begin after midnight local time in the centre of Juba.