Sudanese gunmen have shot and killed a United Nations peacekeeper in Darfur.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) have condemned an ambush yesterday that led to the death of the blue helmet.
It was the second such attack on peacekeepers in the strife-torn region in a week.
Ban “is deeply concerned by the increased security threats faced by UNAMID in Darfur.
He calls on all parties to fulfil their responsibility to ensure the safety and security of UN and UN-associated personnel in Sudan,” according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.
The UN News Centre says approximately eight gunmen opened fire on an escort patrol that was returning to its base in Nyala, South Darfur, wounding one peacekeeper as the blue helmets returned fire in self-defence.
The wounded soldier was immediately taken for medical treatment at the mission’s hospital in Nyala and later died while being evacuated to Al Fasher for further medical treatment.
“These ongoing attacks against UNAMID peacekeepers will not dissuade us from pursuing our mandate in Darfur,” AU-UN Joint Representative Rodolphe Adada said.
This is the second time in just over a week that UNAMID peacekeepers have been ambushed by unknown armed men while conducting their duties in Darfur, as concerns mount over the safety of humanitarian workers, many of whom have been ordered to leave the region following the recent indictment of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.
On 9 March four peacekeepers were shot and wounded in a patrol that was returning to its base in El Geneina, West Darfur, and, following that incident, a UN spokesperson said that the number of attacks against peacekeeping personnel and incidents of banditry in 2009 to that date had exceeded those for the entirety of 2008.
On the humanitarian front, the Secretary-General is continuing to make telephone calls to leaders in Africa and the Middle East to address the humanitarian situation in Darfur, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters.
Sudan decided to begin ejecting 13 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on 4 March, immediately after the ICC issued an arrest warrant for President Al-Bashir.