UN peacekeeper killed in armed attack at IDP camp in South Darfur

August 13th, 2012 - 12:15 am ICT by BNO News  

NYALA, SUDAN (BNO NEWS) — A peacekeeper was killed Sunday when gunmen opened fire in a United Nations (UN) community policing center in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region, the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said. Another peacekeeper was injured.

A mission spokesperson said the attack happened at around 3:15 a.m. local time when a group of gunmen surrounded and fired at peacekeepers who were at a UNAMID community policing center inside the Otash internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur.

UNAMID said one of its peacekeepers, from Bangladesh’s Formed Police Unit, was killed. A second peacekeeper was injured, but his or her condition was not immediately known. “The armed men fled after the police unit returned fire,” the mission said in a statement, adding that the attack constitutes a war crime under international law.

“The attack on our peacekeepers is cowardly deplorable and our thoughts go to the families and friends of the fallen and the injured,” said Aichatou Mindaoudou, UNAMID’s Acting Joint Special Representative (JSR). She also called on the Sudanese government to make serious efforts to apprehend those responsible and bring them to justice.

Sunday’s deadly attack comes less than two weeks after the UN Security Council (UNSC) voted to extend the mandate for the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur for another twelve months. The 15-member body said the mission will be reconfigured to focus on the areas of Darfur with the highest security threats.

Nearly 22,500 troops, military observers and police officers and nearly 4,500 civilians currently serve with UNAMID, which assumed peacekeeping duties from an earlier African Union mission at the start of 2008. A total of 38 UNAMID blue helmets have been killed in the line of duty while serving in Darfur.

The UNAMID force is tasked with protecting civilians, promoting an inclusive peace process and help ensuring the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance across Darfur, an arid region on Sudan’s western flank. Fighting and large-scale displacement has convulsed the region since 2003 when rebels took up arms against the Government, whose military forces responded with the support of allied militiamen.

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