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Africa
Darfur peacekeeper shot dead
Second attack on force in western Sudan since arrest warrant issued for the president.
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2009 19:02 GMT
The joint UN-AU mission in Darfur is operating at just 60 per cent of its mandated strength [Reuters]

A peacekeeper with the joint UN-African Union force (Unamid) in Sudan's western Darfur region has been shot dead by unknown assailants, a spokesman for the mission says.  

The attack on Tuesday was the second targeting international peacekeepers since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, on war crimes charges.

"Unamid peacekeepers coming back from a patrol in Nyala were ambushed by eight unidentified gunmen," Kemal Saiki, a spokesman, said.

"This was not a carjacking gone wrong. This was a cold-blooded ambush. They were waiting for us."

The soldier, whose nationality was not released, died after he was airlifted to the mission's headquarters in the North Darfur capital of Al-Fasher.

On March 10, four Unamid troops were wounded in another ambush near Geneina in West Darfur.

Joint mission

Fourteen peacekeepers have been killed in the region since the joint mission took over from a struggling under-funded and under-resourced African Union mission in January 2008. 

The Unamid deployment is supposed to be the world's largest peacekeeping mission but the force is currently at only 60 per cent of its mandated strength, with just 15,000 of the 26,000 planned troops and police on the ground.

Al-Bashir, who is accused of crimes against humanity during a six-year conflict in the Darfur region, is due to visit Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, on Wednesday.

According to the United Nations, 300,000 people have died and more than 2.2 million fled their homes since ethnic minority rebels rose up against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government in February 2003.

Sudan puts the death toll at 10,000 people.

Source:
Agencies
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