The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) today reiterated that its peacekeepers responded proportionately to two attacks launched against them by armed men in Kass, South Darfur, this week.
“In both incidents, UNAMID troops returned fire but did not initiate any shooting; they only acted to protect themselves,” said African Union-United Nations Acting Joint Special Representative for Darfur, Abiodun Bashua denying recent media misreporting of the incidents, which took place on 23 and 24 April.
The first attack, on 23 April, took place at around 6:00 p.m., when around 40 gunmen on horses and camels opened fire on Nigerian troops protecting a water point in Kass, 85 kilometres north-west of Nyala, South Darfur. The attackers made off with one of the Mission's vehicles after shooting the driver. The peacekeepers pursued and recovered the vehicle. Four attackers were killed during the exchange and two peacekeepers injured, along with one of the attackers.
The following morning, a UNAMID patrol travelling from Nyala was attacked near the Mission's base in Kass. Four peacekeepers were injured during the exchange of fire.
Mr. Bashua lamented the loss of life but stressed that the peacekeepers responded appropriately and proportionately, saying the Mission had evidence that the attackers, who were riding on horses and camels, fired AK-47 assault rifles at the peacekeepers.
He regretted that an erroneous version of the events was being put out to misinform the public and the Government and said the Mission's leadership was continuing to engage with Sudan's Government, the African Union and the United Nations to defuse the tension and restore normality in Kass.
Since December 2007, when UNAMID was first mandated, a total of 61 peacekeepers have lost their lives in hostile action in Darfur.