Landmine kills four UN peacekeepers in Sudan’s Abyei

August 2nd, 2011 - 11:36 pm ICT by BNO News  

ABYEI, SUDAN (BNO NEWS) — Four peacekeepers part of the newly-established United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) in Sudan were killed on Tuesday when a landmine exploded in the region, officials said. Several others were injured.

A statement from Martin Nesirky, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said the four UNISFA peacekeepers were killed on Tuesday as a result of a landmine detonation during a patrol in Mabok, southeast of Abyei Town. Seven others were injured.

“The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those killed, as well to the Government of Ethiopia,” Nesirky said. “He also expresses his concern for the wellbeing of the seven other peacekeepers who were injured in the explosion.”

UNISFA was established by the UN Security Council last month for an initial six months after violence broke out in the town and surrounding areas which are contested by both (north) Sudan and South Sudan, forcing more than 113,000 people to flee.

On Thursday, Alain Le Roy, who is the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, had announced that 521 of the authorized 4,200 military personnel in UNISFA had been deployed in the region. The force is expected to have an operating capacity of 1,200 troops by the end of July.

“While the security situation in Abyei remains tense, both sides appear committed to avoiding an escalation of violence and ready to cooperate with UNISFA,” Le Roy said on Thursday, adding that the blue helmets had made contacts with both sides and they each said they were willing to withdraw upon the deployment of UNISFA.

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