UN proposes decrease in Darfur force

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The U.N. peacekeeping chief is calling for a significant decrease and reorganization in the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur because fighting between Sudanese government forces and rebel groups has decreased.

Herve Ladsous told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that a recent review found an increased risk to civilians from violent crimes, particularly in urban areas and camps for tens of thousands of displaced people, "as opposed to from armed conflict."

The U.N.-AU force currently has about 18,100 military personnel and about 3,000 international police. Ladsous recommended a decrease of 3,260 military and 663 police.

Fighting in Darfur began in 2003, killing up to 300,000 people and driving 2.7 million from their homes.