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Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union unreservedly condemns the shooting at AU monitors


KHARTOUM, Feb 01, 2005 (African Union) - The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union in Sudan, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, unreservedly condemns the shooting by assailants at AU monitors on two separate incidences, at BIRITABLA and between SHANGIL TOBAYA and KHOR ABECHE in southern Darfur, on 31 January 2005.
Regrettably, these incidences took place as the Military Observers were undertaking their legitimate duty of investigating and verifying serious allegations of Ceasefire violations at JAYJAY and SHANGIL TOBAYA respectively. It should be recalled that the AU is conducting investigations into the recent reports of aerial bombardments and other violations of the N’Djamena Ceasefire Agreement at both JAYJAY and SHANGIL TOBAYA.

It should also be recalled that in December 2004 a member of the AU observers was shot at and an AU helicopter fired upon, on 1 and 19, respectively. Clearly these incidences if they continue cause a serious threat to the Ceasefire monitoring process.

The AU does not wish to be drawn into a situation where its monitors and protectors will be obliged to defend themselves by the use of force. The Special Representative therefore wishes to bring the matter to the immediate attention of all the parties involved in the conflict with the hope that there will not be a repeat of such unfortunate incidences in the future.

Furthermore, the Special Representative strongly urges the Government of Sudan, the Janjaweed/armed militia and the rebel movements to fully respect the neutrality of the AU monitors and their protectors, and to cooperate fully with AMIS in carrying out its mandate in Darfur.

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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