Darfur: UN peacekeepers ambushed during patrol

6 October 2008
Members of Nigerian battalion of the UN-AU Hybrid Mission in Darfur on patrol

A group of peacekeepers serving with the joint United Nations-African Union operation in Darfur were ambushed this afternoon while on patrol in the south of the war-torn Sudanese region.

UN spokesperson Michele Montas told journalists today that there was no immediate confirmation of any casualties following the ambush, which took place about 75 kilometres north of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state.

The blue helmets with the peacekeeping mission, which is known as UNAMID, were conducting an assessment patrol from Nyala to Khor Abeche when the attack occurred at Menawashei.

UNAMID forces and aid workers, both from the UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have become increasingly popular targets for combatants in the Darfur conflict that has pitted rebels against Sudanese Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen since 2003.

In the past five years, an estimated 300,000 people have been killed and some 2.7 million others forced to live as internally displaced persons (IDPs) or as refugees in neighbouring countries.

UNAMID, which is expected to have about 26,000 troops and police officers when it reaches full strength, has been deployed to try to quell the fighting and the humanitarian suffering across Darfur, an arid and impoverished region bordering Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR).


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