Armed men killed three Rwandan peacekeepers in Sudan’s Darfur region in the latest assault on members of the UN/African Union (UNAMID) force operating in the area, an official from the force says.
The official said the peacekeepers were attacked at around 11:30 am (0830 GMT) yesterday as they guarded engineers building a new base for the UNAMID force near the settlement of Niertiti, in the mountainous Eastern Jabel Mara area of West Darfur state — the site of rebel clashes earlier this year.
“Three peacekeepers with the mission were killed and one seriously wounded today in a sustained firefight with unknown attackers,” the official told Reuters, declining to give a name.
Around 20 attackers, wearing camouflage, opened fire on the UNAMID force without warning, the official said.
“The peacekeepers returned fire and the fight lasted about one hour,” the official said.
The injured Rwandan was in a critical condition.
The official said 27 UNAMID police officers and soldiers had now been killed in attacks since the force came to Darfur in 2008.
Violence flared in the mostly desert region in 2003 when rebels demanding more autonomy for the territory launched a revolt against Sudan’s government.
The UNAMID force, made up of mostly African soldiers and police, took over from a beleaguered African Union mission over two years ago. It is still short of its expected strength of 26 000 and is supposed to keep the peace in an area the size of Spain.