October 15, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Paris and Washington have condemned two separate attacks against peacekeeping forces in western Sudan’s Darfur region last week, which resulted in the death of four soldiers.
- Four soldiers were killed last week in two separate attacks on peacekeeping forces in Sudan’s western Darfur region (Photo: UNAMID)
According to the French foreign ministry, France “was calling on the Sudanese government to rapidly investigate these two attacks and bring those responsible to justice”.
The US Department of State in similar terms condemned “unlawful acts against UNAMID personnel and calls on the Sudanese government to immediately investigate these malicious attacks and hold the perpetrators to account".
The joint African Union-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said three Senegalese soldiers were killed on Sunday after their police unit detail came under attack while escorting a water convoy from El Geneina town to the UNAMID regional headquarters in West Darfur.
Members of the Sudanese uniformed services were reportedly caught up in a fire-fight after pursuing the assailants, resulting in casualties on both sides.
The incident followed the murder of a Zambian military observer in the North Darfur capital, El-Fasher, on Friday who was attacked by unidentified armed men who stabbed him and hijacked his vehicle as he was parking inside his private residence.
The American and French authorities said concerned by the deterioration of the security situation, human rights, and humanitarian situation in Darfur.
Paris called on all parties involved in the Darfur conflict to adopt the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD),
But Washington urged the Sudanese Government and all rebel groups to "engage without preconditions in an effective and inclusive political process to achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflict".
Since the beginning this year tribal fighting displaced some 300,00 civilians in Darfur. UN agencies say; this is more than the total number of newly displaced persons in Darfur over the past two years combined.
Khartoum government and former rebel Liberation and Justice Movement signed the DDPD in July 2011. Also splinter group of Justice and Equality Movement joined the framework document in April this year. But not all rebel groups support its implementation.
The UN Security Council (UNSC), UN chief and the African Union also issued statements condemning the attacks on the joint peacekeeping mission.
The 15-member council called on the Sudanese government “to swiftly investigate the incidents and bring the perpetrators to justice”.
The UNSC members further reiterated their full support for UNAMID, urging all parties in Darfur to fully cooperate with the mission.
Both UNAMID and UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon expressed their sorrow at the death of the soldiers.
“The secretary-general offers his condolences to the families and friends of the fallen peacekeepers and expresses his deepest sympathies to the Government of the Republic of Senegal”, Ban said.
UNAMID joint special representative Mohamed Ibn Chambas also paid tribute to the fallen soldiers.
“Such incidents are a reminder to all of us of the great price everyone pays in the absence of peace. Our peacekeepers have made the ultimate sacrifice while attempting to bring peace to Darfur”, he said in a statement on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, blasted the “cowardly and criminal acts against UNAMID peacekeepers who are paying the ultimate price to bring peace to Darfur”.
She also stressed the importance of identifying and bringing the perpetrators to justice.
The rebel Sudan Liberation Movement of Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) also condemned the attack on the hybrid mission and called on the United Nations to strengthen the mandate of the UNAMID and to enable it to protect civilians.
The SLM-MM spokesperson, Abdallah Mursal, further accused the Sudanese government militias of attacking the peacekeepers saying "the resistance forces" have no interest to assault UNAMID forces who are there to protect Darfurians.
The incidents comes barely four months after seven Tanzanian peacekeepers were killed and 17 injured in what was described as the worst-ever single attack in the troubled region since 2007.
UNAMID deployed to Sudan’s western Darfur region in 2008 as the largest and most expensive peacekeeping operation in the world, employing more than 25,000 military, police and civilian staff.
The agency’s core mandate is to provide protection to Darfuri civilians and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Over 16,000 UNAMID peacekeepers are currently based in Darfur, where violence flared in 2003 after mostly non-Arab fighters took up arms against the Sudanese government.
Over 300,000 people have perished during the10-year conflict, which has displaced over 2.5 million.