Finally, more than 160 members of the Defence Forces have left Ireland for eastern Chad, to join a UN-mandated peace enforcement mission to protect refugees, Aid Workers, Doctors, and other UN personnel. The Minister for Defence, Willie O'Dea, has described the deployment along the Darfur border as one of the most challenging missions the troops will ever undertake. 150 soldiers are due to join them soon.
Unlike previous UN peacekeeping missions in Bosnia, the troops on the ground will be able to use force if they deem it necessary because of the lawlessness and the carnage in Darfur along with the multiple conflicts in the border areas between Darfur, Chad and the Central African Republic. Minister O'Dea said the security is needed to be offered to the almost 250,000 refugees fleeing Darfur, and 180,000 people from Chad who were forced from their homes.