UN peacekeepers in Sudan killed
At least seven soldiers from the joint U.N. – African Union peacekeeping force in the Darfur region of western Sudan are dead after gunmen ambushed a patrol. From VOA’s East Africa bureau in Nairobi, Derek Kilner reports.
|Sudan Liberation Movement leader Minni Minnawi (File)|
The attack occurred in Um Haqiba, in North Darfur. According to U.N. officials, there have been recent disputes in the area between Arab militias and forces loyal to Minni Minnawi, a former rebel leader who joined the government after signing a 2006 peace agreement.
At least 40 vehicles were involved in the attack. A U.N. spokesperson said about 22 peacekeepers were also injured in the ambushed.
The incident is the latest in a series of attacks on the peacekeeping force, since it took over from an African Union mission in January. A patrol was ambushed by gunmen in May, and in June a Ugandan peacekeeper was killed.
But the problem is persistent or even worsening by the day:
Undermanned, the mission has been vulnerable to attacks. But in a vicious cycle of sorts, the mission’s struggles may be discouraging countries from contributing resources.
The Darfur region has grown increasingly chaotic in recent months, with a growing number of rebel factions and Arab militias, along with a increase in banditry. The identity of Wednesday’s attackers is not yet known. But Mohammed says that it would not be surprising if members of the Janjaweed militia, which has been armed by the government in Khartoum, were responsible. The government, he says, is worried that the U.N. force could be used to go after officials wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes in Darfur.
Vicious cyrcle indeed. And nobody wants to stop it.