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Sudan files charges against UNAMID in South Darfur incident

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May 1, 2015 (KASS) - The prosecutor office in the locality of Kass in South Darfur has filed charges against the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) demanding lift of immunity from the mission’s troops involved in the recent killing incident in prelude to put them to trial.

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A UNAMID police adviser interacts with community leaders during a routine patrol in the ZamZam camp for the internally displaced near El Fasher, North Darfur. (Photo UNAMID/Ali Aloita).

Four persons, according to the mission, or six people as claimed by Sudanese authorities were killed and five others were injured from the Zaghawa tribe by UNAMID peacekeepers during clashes in Kass last April.

The joint mission says the gunmen attacked the patrol of Nigerian soldiers at the sunset on 23 April and "made off with one of the Mission’s vehicles after shooting the driver". But the tribesmen insist they were going after stolen cattle when they encountered the peacekeepers.

The peacekeeping mission further says a second patrol travelling from Nyala was attacked by the gunmen near the UNAMID’s base in Kass on the morning of 24 April.

Kass higher prosecutor, Babiker Gido Adam, said that charges, which were filed under article (47) of the criminal code, will be submitted to Sudan’s general prosecutor to take the legal measures to lift immunity from UNAMID’s troops who had engaged in armed clashes with the tribesmen.

He disclosed that a committee formed by the federal ministry of justice will arrive during the next couple of days in South Darfur to investigate the incident.

Adam pointed out that UNAMID troops violated the international law when they assaulted the defenceless citizens and killed seven of them inside the mission’s camp, saying they broke into the cemetery without regard for the sanctity of the dead.

The higher prosecutor added that the fact-finding commission set up by South Darfur governor, Adam Mahmoud, has gone a long way in fulfilling its tasks, saying it interrogated seven witnesses and recorded all traces from the incident scene and the graveyard.

On Wednesday, Sudan accused UNAMID’s headquarters in Sudan, New York and Addis Ababa of seeking to cover up what it called the “heinous crime” committed by its troops in Kass, saying they sought to criminalise the innocent victims instead of offering condolences to their families and the Sudanese government.

Both the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki Moon, and the head of the of the African Union commission, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, underscored the peacekeepers have been attacked by the armed gunmen, saying they returned fire in self-defence.

UNAMID acting chief Abiodun Bashua also rubbished the government’s claims stressing that his troops " returned fire but did not initiate any shooting" and "only acted to protect themselves".

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