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Eight countries sending troops to Darfur

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- The ongoing threat to civilians in the volatile Darfur region of Sudan has prompted as many as eight countries to commit to sending troops to the region.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been working to draw increased attention to the ongoing violence between Sudanese government troops and rebel forces in Darfur. Ban has called on the international community to commit to increasing the level of troops in Sudan to 26,000 soldiers to quell the violence that has killed an estimated 300,000 people, the United Nations reported.

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The number of troops committed to peacekeeping operations currently remains well short of 20,000 soldiers. The slow commitment from the international community has exasperated the crisis in Darfur, and in December the violence delayed the most recent deployment of peacekeepers.

Wednesday U.N. officials announced that hundreds of troops are expected to arrive in Darfur before April, including the possibility of as many as 900 personnel from Tanzania.

"A memorandum of understanding on air operations was signed by the government of Sudan and the U.N.-African Union hybrid force to enable a more effective use of the infrastructure of Sudanese airports to speed up the process," the release said.

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