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Rwandan peacekeeper killed in Darfur after failed mediation attempt: UN

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May 24, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The United Nations announced on Saturday that a Rwandan peacekeeper from the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) was killed and three others injured.

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Peacekeepers from the hybrid African Union-United Nations operation in Darfur (UNAMID) patrol the damaged and empty Labado village in South Darfur on 10 December 2013 (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

“Following altercations between Fur people from Al Salam village and Arab militia from Al Hara village, a UNAMID team attended mediation meeting in an attempt to ease the tension. The Arab militia elements, nevertheless, became hostile towards UNAMID peacekeepers and started shooting at them, at which point the peacekeepers returned fire,” UNAMID said in a statement.

“As a result of the ensuing fighting, four Rwandan peacekeepers were injured and, unfortunately, one of them died from his wounds. The other three, one of them in critical condition, are receiving treatment at the UNAMID hospital in Kabkabiya. The fighting left an unconfirmed number of casualties among the assailants”.

The mission’s Joint Special Representative (JSR), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, condemned the attack, which he described as a “criminal act”.

“Our peacekeepers were trying to mediate the dispute in good faith and regrettably their efforts went unappreciated. They paid the ultimate price with courage and dedication while discharging their noble duty; trying to bring peace to Darfur,” he said.

Chambas called on the Sudanese government to act decisively and swiftly in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

“This crime is utterly unjustifiable and amounts to a crime against humanity for which those responsible must be brought to account,” he said.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon released a statement condemning the attack and extending his condolences to the family of the deceased peacekeeper and the Rwandan government.

The UN Security Council also condemned the attack “in the strongest terms”, with the 15-member body further called on the Sudanese government swiftly to investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

UNAMID noted that its death toll since the creation of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in December 2007 has risen to 58 after today’s incident.

Last year, seven Tanzanian peacekeepers killed in South Darfur by unknown gunmen.

A UN committee that is tasked with monitoring compliance with Sudan-related sanctions said in a report earlier this year which has not been made public that some of these attacks were carried out by pro-government militias.

(ST)

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