A peacekeeper serving with the joint African Union-United Nations force in Darfur (UNAMID) was killed today while on patrol in the strife-torn region, just one week after seven blue helmets with the mission were slain.
The peacekeeper was killed in Forobaranga in West Darfur state, according to preliminary information received by UNAMID, the mission said in a press statement.
“UNAMID condemns all acts of violence against its peacekeepers,” the statement added, noting that an investigation has begun into today’s killing.
The attack comes one week after five Rwandan peacekeepers and two police officers – one from Ghana and the other from Uganda – were killed when a UNAMID patrol convoy came under attack in Um Hakibah in North Darfur. At least 19 other mission staff were wounded in the incident.
The Security Council adopted a presidential statement condemning last week’s killings, calling it an “unacceptable act of extreme violence” and noting it is the worst attack on the mission since it began at the start of the year.
“The Council is particularly concerned that the attack was premeditated, deliberate and intended to inflict casualties,” according to the statement, read out by Ambassador Le Luong Minh of Viet Nam, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month.
Welcoming the UN investigation, and Sudan’s stated willingness to assist the probe, Mr. Minh called on the Government “to do its utmost to ensure that the perpetrators of the attack are swiftly identified and brought to justice.”
The presidential statement stressed that attacks on UN peacekeepers during an armed conflict can constitute war crimes under international law.
Council members called on all sides in the Darfur conflict to agree to a cessation of hostilities and to take part in the political process led by the new joint UN-AU Chief Mediator, Djibril Yipènè Bassolé, that is aimed at ending the five-year conflict that has claimed as many as 300,000 lives and displaced 2.7 million others.
The presidential statement followed a briefing to the 15-member body on the situation in Darfur by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno.
Meanwhile, UNAMID said its troops have been continuing to conduct patrols in the region on Sudan’s western flank, despite the violence and instability, with 16 security and confidence-building patrols conducted in the past 24 hours. Humanitarian activities are also ongoing and a Chinese engineering company of 175 officers is due to join the mission tomorrow in South Darfur.
The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), which is helping to implement the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement ending the separate north-south civil conflict, said some student demonstrations have taken place but the mission has been able to conduct its regular activities. This includes daily police patrols in Juba in southern Sudan and training for southern Sudanese police.