Home | News    Tuesday 2 October 2007

African Union begins probing Darfur Haskanita attack

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October 1, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — The African Union on Monday began probing an unprecedented attack on one of its bases in Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur that left 10 peacekeepers dead and 25 missing, vowing to punish those responsible.

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Seriously injured AU soldiers being helped from Haskanita military camp, in Darfur, Sudan, to a waiting helicopter Sunday Sept. 30, 2007 (AMIS)

"The inquiry is underway and we will make its conclusions public. Those who carried out this attack will be strongly sanctioned," African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) spokesman Noureddine Mezni told AFP, declining to speculate on who carried out the attack.

The attack by a large, organised group of heavily armed men who overran southern Darfur’s Haskanita camp in 30 vehicles took place on Saturday night, the worst assault on the under-manned force since it deployed in July 2004.

The AU said that 21 of the missing were Nigerian, as were seven of the dead. The other dead troops were from Mali, Botswana and Senegal. The AU said eight people were seriously wounded and the death toll might rise.

Mezni said 17 other peacekeepers who were earlier reported missing in the raid were discovered to the south of the base, apparently unharmed.

Amid international outcry over the brazen assault, the United States called for a planned AU-UN force many times stronger than the current mission to reach Darfur "as soon as possible"

"What the president wants is that UN peacekeeping force to get there as soon as possible because we are committed to ending the violence," US President George W. Bush’s chief spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

"The human disaster that we face in that area is very troubling, it’s something that needs to be addressed by the international community, including the UN peackeeping force."

UN chief Ban Ki-moon condemned the killings and called on Darfur’s warring sides to recommit to a settlement, citing peace talks scheduled for Libya on October 27 and preparations for the joint deployment of AU-UN troops.

Ban urged all parties "to recommit as a matter of the highest priority to a peaceful resolution to the conflict."

AU-UN joint envoy Rodolphe Adada, who flew to the main Darfur town of Al-Fasher to personally supervise the inquiry into the attack, said he was "appalled by the outrageous and deliberate attack."

The under-equipped African force of around 7,000 troops from 26 countries patrolling Darfur, a region the size of France, is due to begin being replaced later this year by the hybrid 26,000-strong AU-UN force.

Five Senegalese AU peacekeepers were killed in an attack in April.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which Khartoum blamed on rebels.

"Such irresponsible attacks constitute a serious violation to the ceasefire agreement," the new commander of the hybrid force, General Martin Luther Agwai, said, implicitly blaming rebels.

"Rebel groups, who indulge in such random violence and bloodshed, undermine their own credibility on any negotiation table."

However, one rebel group which last month called for a ceasefire ahead of the deployment of the new hybrid force blamed the government, saying only that the charge was based "on initial information gathered on the ground."

"The Sudan Liberation Movement condemns this senseless attack on the AU base in Darfur," said Nouri Abdallah, top aide to Ahmed Abdel Shafi, a key Darfur rebel faction leader based in Kampala.

Abdallah said he believed the attack was planned to "create havoc in Darfur ahead of the deployment of the AU-UN hybrid force... and an attempt to derail the political process."

Agwai also said it was regrettable that the attack happened ahead of the peace talks due in Tripoli later this month in an attempt to broaden a Darfur peace agreement signed by only one rebel faction in May last year.

Conflict and famine in Darfur have left at least 200,000 people dead and two million displaced since Khartoum enlisted Janjaweed Arab militia allies to put down an ethnic minority revolt in 2003.

(AFP)

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  • 2 October 2007 06:15, by Augustino

    Dear listeners,
    Iam sad and sorry when seeing the picture of seriousely wounded soldier in Darfur awaiting for helicopter to be airlift to safe area for treatment.
    Can UN and America plus the world as large see into this problem before the area turn into Somalia two(2).
    Even the blind man can figure out the present of AL Qaeda elements in this area ,therefore,the operations to Darfur must be carefully plan.
    Bashir must have answer to all these kinds of killing
    Thanks
    Augustino in Sydney.

    repondre message

  • 2 October 2007 21:01, by Bob Tata

    This what a common could expect from a Africa Union Troops being led by Nigerians! Now, they can not even protect themselves, so, how can they protect the people of Darfur? That is why the Sudanese government want them there because they are just symbolic and nonsense! So, let them not assume what they can’t afford to deal with, we all know that they are under equipped and thus lack the professionalism in how to handle that dangerous situation. Can they quit and leave the job for the well trained and equipped forces like that of UN and the EU armed forces! let them go and find their luck somewhere!

    By Bol Thourmuck

    repondre message

    • 2 October 2007 21:09, by Bob Tata

      Correction!!!

      This is what a common could expect from African Union Troops being led by Nigerians! Now they can not even protect themselves, so, how can they protect the people of Darfur? That is why the Sudanese government want them there, because they are just symbolic and nonsense! So, let them not assume what they can’t afford to deal with, we all know that they are under -equipped and thus lack the professionalism in how to handle that dangerous situation. Can they quit and leave the job for the well trained and equipped forces like those of UN and EU armed forces! Let them go and find their luck somewhere!

      By Bol Thourmuck of Greater Nuer(Greater Nasir)

      repondre message

  • 4 October 2007 13:50, by Awet Dominic

    What happend in hasskanita is not verey strange to us sudaneas because i think that our government is who carried out this attack.

    repondre message

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