Darfur: security situation worsens after attacks on UN-African peacekeepers

6 December 2009

The security situation in the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur has deteriorated in the wake of attacks that claimed the lives of five peacekeepers, the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in the area (UNAMID) reported today.

The security situation in the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur has deteriorated in the wake of attacks that claimed the lives of five peacekeepers, the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in the area (UNAMID) reported today.

The mission's forces carried out dozens of patrols, including routine and humanitarian escort patrols, covering 50 villages and camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The five blue helmets from Rwanda were killed in separate incidents on Friday and Saturday, bringing the total number of peacekeepers who have lost their lives in Darfur since UNAMID deployed at the start of 2008 to 22.

In July 2007 a joint police and military patrol from the preceding AU mission was ambushed by at least 200 attackers, leaving seven peacekeepers dead and 22 wounded.

The recent attacks follow the shooting and wounding of three other peacekeepers, also by unidentified gunmen, in West Darfur in October, and the killing of another in South Darfur in May, as well as the kidnapping of two UNAMID civilian staff members in August in West Darfur. They are still being held.

In his latest report on UNAMID last month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said increased threats to international staff, including “extremely alarming” kidnappings, military action by Chad, Sudan and rebels, and Government limits on peacekeepers'' movements continued to hamper efforts to stabilize the Sudanese area torn apart by nearly seven years of war.

At least 300,000 people are estimated to have died and 2.7 million more have been driven from their homes in the fighting between the Government, its militia allies and various armed groups.

Almost two years after being set up, UNAMID has still only reached 69 per cent of its authorized troop strength – 14,638 military personnel out of the total 19,555, and 4,449 police – and still lacks key military elements, including two medium transport units, a level II hospital, an aerial reconnaissance unit, and 18 medium utility helicopters.

 

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Darfur: UN-African Union force condemns 'cowardly' attack against blue helmets

The joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) today spoke out against the “cowardly” attack against its forces yesterday that claimed the lives of three blue helmets.