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Security Council speaks out against deadly attack on AU peacekeepers in Darfur

Security Council speaks out against deadly attack on AU peacekeepers in Darfur

Security Council
The Security Council today condemned last weekend’s “murderous” attack on African Union (AU) peacekeepers in Haskanita, South Darfur, and demanded that no effort be spared to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Nearly a dozen personnel from the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) were killed in the attack, reportedly committed by a rebel group, with many more wounded and missing.

“The Security Council deplores the loss of life and injuries that resulted from this attack, and conveys its sympathy to the Governments, families and colleagues of those killed and injured,” according to a statement read out by Ambassador Leslie Kojo Christian of Ghana, which holds the 15-member body’s rotating presidency for this month.

The Council also deplored the fact that this attack took place in the lead-up to peace talks set to begin in Libya on 27 October between the Sudanese Government and Darfur’s many rebel groups in an effort to resolve a conflict that has led to the deaths of more than 200,000 people since 2003, underlining that “any attempt to undermine the peace process is unacceptable.”

In July the Council authorized the deployment of a hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping force to quell the violence in Darfur and protect humanitarian operations. The force, to be known as UNAMID, is slated to take over from AMIS at the start of next year.

At a press briefing this afternoon, Ambassador Christian emphasized that African countries should not be discouraged from contributing troops to the hybrid force in light of the latest attack. “They should not waiver in their commitment of troops to UNAMID. They should remain committed,” he stated.

The Joint UN-AU Special Representative for Darfur Rodolphe Adada met yesterday with AMIS Force Commander General Martin Luther Agwai on the situation in Haskanita, and assured him that both the UN and the AU stand firm in their resolve to help bring peace to Darfur.

Meanwhile, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) today reported further attacks civilians and humanitarian agencies in North, South and West Darfur.

In North Darfur, two armed men entered a compound housing an international non-governmental organization (NGO) in El Fasher on Sunday and threatened to shoot the staff if they did not hand over the keys to one of their vehicles. The attackers left with the vehicle and the staff were not harmed.

Then in South Darfur, three armed men shot and killed a resident at the Hassa Hissa camp housing internally displaced persons (IDPs) and fled the scene.

And two armed men approached a UN vehicle in Nyala yesterday and drove away with it after they fired warning shots in the air and beat the driver. Local police arrested two suspects on the same day, and are currently investigating that incident.

In West Darfur yesterday, three armed men attempted to hijack an NGO vehicle in El Geneina. They shot at the vehicle and wounded the driver, who is in critical condition and is being treated in El Geneina hospital.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), attacks against aid workers across all of Darfur are on the rise, with the number of such incidents – including car hijackings, attacks on convoys and other acts of violence – soaring by 150 per cent in the first half of this year.