UN Peacekeeper Killed in Darfur

Posted August 5th, 2011 at 2:20 pm (UTC-5)
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A United Nations spokesman says one U.N. peacekeeper was killed and another seriously wounded Friday when their vehicle was attacked by gunmen in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The U.N. says the peacekeepers were part of the Joint United Nations-African Union force in Darfur (UNAMID) and were ambushed in the village of Duma, northeast of the South Darfur capital of Nyala.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Darfur has sent investigators to the scene of the attack and Sudanese government police are searching the area.

Fighting between government forces, allied militiamen and rebel groups has been going in in Darfur since 2003.

This attack comes a little more than a month after a U.N. peacekeeper was shot and killed in West Darfur and less than a week after four Ethiopian peacekeepers died in an attack in the Abyei region on the border of Sudan and the new nation of South Sudan.

The United Nations says a board of inquiry is looking into the deaths of three of the four Ethiopian peacekeepers who died in Sudan earlier this week when authorities delayed their evacuation by helicopter.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roi told reporters medical flights are not supposed to require authorization under the peacekeeping agreement between the U.N. and Sudan.

But he said the crew of the Medevac helicopter complied with the delay because Sudanese troops threatened to shoot them down if they took off without clearance.

Le Roi said there is no way to know whether the three peacekeepers, critically injured in a land mine blast, would have survived if they had been moved sooner.

A U.N. spokesperson said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had taken the issue to Sudan's ambassador to the U.N. The spokesperson said Mr. Ban stressed that any delay is “unacceptable” when it comes to saving lives.

The three peacekeepers were wounded in a blast while on patrol in the disputed Abyei region. A fourth peacekeeper died instantly in the explosion. Seven others were wounded but survived.