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Unknown gunmen attack UNAMID patrol in South Darfur

December 14, 2014 (NYALA) – An unidentified armed group has ambushed on Friday two military vehicles belonging to the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in Ghrabshi area in the county of Nateega, South Darfur state.

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A Nigerian peacekeeper based in El Geneina, West Darfur, inspects a car, with remnants of blood, transporting Senegalese soldiers ambushed by unknown assailants. Three soldiers were killed on 13 October 2013 (Photo: Albert Gonzalez Farran/UNAMID)

A reliable source who preferred to stay anonymous told Sudan Tribune that the armed group attacked UNAMID soldiers while they were returning from the mission’s headquarters in Gharabshi, saying they stripped the soldiers of their weapons and luggage and fled to unknown location.

The incident is similar to an ambush on a UNAMID patrol in Jebel Marra on 5 March 2010 when armed men captured the Nigerian soldiers and released them 24 hours later after robbing their vehicles, equipments, personal belongings and money.

The government at the time accused the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) of being behind the attack and blamed the Nigerian troops for allowing the armed men to take their weapons and equipment saying they have to explain how it can happen.

However, the source expressed fear at the increasing number of attacks against UNAMID particularly after the recent developments relating to the mass rape allegations in Tabit in North Darfur and the criticism it is facing from all the parties.

The commissioner of Nateega locality, Ibrahim al-Gali, confirmed the attack and told Sudan Tribune that UNAMID used to inform the security apparatus in the locality of its activities, pointing they haven’t done so this time.

He said as a result an unidentified group ambushed two UNAMID patrol vehicles and an armoured vehicle and fired a hail of bullets on them but nobody was injured.

Al-Gali added the group, which is comprised of 10 armed people carjacked the 2 vehicles, adding the driver of the armoured vehicle managed to flee and arrived safely at the headquarters of the locality.

He said the security committee sent a military force to pursue the perpetrators.

South Darfur state has witnessed a near total security breakdown in recent months with recurrent incidents of looting, banditry and murder including from pro-government militias.

Businessmen and commercial convoys in South Darfur are regularly attacked by armed gangs which demand ransom for their release.