The United Nations human rights office today called on Sudanese authorities to launch an investigation to find those responsible for the ambush of one of its convoys earlier this week, which resulted in the death of one peacekeeper and wounds to three others.
“We strongly condemn Wednesday’s armed attack in North Darfur on a UN convoy comprised of military, police and civilian staff, including two human rights officers,” said the spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Ravina Shamdasani, during a press briefing in Geneva.
“We remind the Government of the Sudan that it is responsible for the protection of mission staff as they fulfil their mandate to protect civilians and monitor human rights violations,” she added. “The Government must promptly launch a serious investigation with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice.”
According to the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), one of its convoys came under a combination of automatic and mortar fire from unidentified assailants while on its way from the town of Kutum to the town of Hashaba North, 56 kilometres northeast of Kutum, to assess the situation following recent reports of violence in that area. The convoy returned fire.
The attack brings to five the number of peacekeepers killed in Darfur this month alone. Forty-three peacekeepers have been killed since the establishment of UNAMID in December 2007.
“There is an urgent need to end the climate of impunity in Darfur, which encourages such attacks,” Ms. Shamdasani added.
Both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council have condemned the attack and expressed their condolences to the Government of South Africa, UNAMID and the family of the fallen peacekeeper.