Two more UN peacekeepers killed after attack in Darfur

Monday, December 7, 2009

Location of Darfur
Image: ChrisO.

Gunmen killed two United Nations peacekeepers in Sudan's Darfur region on Saturday, one day after three others were killed in the same area.

A spokesman for the UNAMID peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Kemal Saiki, said two Rwandan peacekeepers were killed at a refugee camp in the northern part of the city. Saiki said the soldiers were distributing water in the Shangil Tobaya settlement, when at least one gunman opened fire on them. He added that it is currently unclear who carried out the attack and why.

"Some men in the crowd were hiding guns in their robes […] They opened fire without warning. Two of the peacekeepers were killed on the spot," said Saiki. One other soldier was injured.

On Friday, gunmen ambushed peacekeepers in Darfur's northern town of Saraf Omra, killing three Rwandan soldiers. Saiki said the gunmen targeted a UN convoy and suggested the attackers may have been trying to steal their vehicles. Saiki said that it is not yet clear whether or not the two incidents are linked.

Saturday's killings bring the total number of peacekeepers killed in the region to 22 since January of 2008 when the UN and African Union began a joint peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

Large scale fighting has subsided in Darfur in recent times, but thefts continue to be a problem, along with violence linked to rival tribes and splinter rebel groups.