Home | News    Tuesday 10 February 2009

Copter damaged in attack; UNAMID commander visits scarred South Darfur town

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February 9, 2009 (ELFASHER) — A helicopter serving with the UN-African Union hybrid operation in Darfur was shot at on Monday in North Darfur while farther south the mission’s senior military commander visited a major South Darfur town abandoned by rebels last week.

While on a mission to deliver food supplies, the helicopter was fired at by unidentified assailants, the joint peacekeeping mission said Monday.

The Mi-8 helicopter was attacked at 10:32 local time at 70 km southwest of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur and the headquarters of the hybrid peacekeeping mission. Although the attacked aircraft succeeded in landing safely in El Fasher and no casualties were recorded, a technical inspection showed that the aircraft wind screen was severely damaged.

Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, who leads the UNAMID forces, today visited his 196 troops in Muhageriya, a town that Sudan’s army last week threatened to assault, demanding that the peacekeepers withdraw. But the peacekeepers refused to withdraw as 30,000 people in the area fled air assaults and ground fighting before rebel forces withdrew.

The commander’s visit to Muhageriya follows one made on Sunday by the civilian leader of the Mission, Joint Special Representative Rodolphe Adada, who told a gathering of elders, sheikhs and umdas, “UNAMID is here to stay. We will not leave you until lasting peace is achieved in Darfur.”

General Agwai also visited Khor Abeche, Sheria, Graida and Nyala in South Darfur. “The visit is one of the measures adopted to restore confidence among the local civilians and to interact with the UNAMID officials deployed in the area,” said the joint mission.

There are 2.5 million internally displaced persons in Darfur. Another 290,000 inhabitants have taken refuge in neighbouring Chad.

(ST)

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