Sudanese police have arrested two men suspected of killing two Egyptian peacekeepers in an ambush in Sudan’s Darfur region, state media said.
The attack on the joint UN/African Union UNAMID peacekeepers marked a further deterioration of security in the western territory, as rebels reported government bombing and shelling of their positions near the border with Chad.
Police told the state Suna news agency they had arrested the two men in the South Darfur area of Edd al Fursan and were now hunting down the rest of a seven-man bandit gang blamed for the attack last Friday.
The commissioner of the surrounding Tulus area, Mohamed Al-Hassan Bairag, told Suna the gang had “looted and terrified citizens” in the region.
Law and order has collapsed seven years after mostly non-Arab rebels in Darfur took up arms against Sudan’s government accusing it of starving the region of funding and marginalising its population.
A total of 24 UNAMID soldiers and police have been killed in ambushes, car-jackings and other violent incidents since their under-equipped force moved in at the beginning of 2008.
Darfur’s insurgent Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) accused Sudan’s army of bombing and shelling positions in the remote Jabel Moun area of West Darfur state on Sunday, saying it was the latest in a series of attacks in the region.
Sudan’s army said it could not confirm the report of fighting on Sunday but said it reserved the right to attack JEM forces engaged in “terrorism” and other violence.
The reports came days after JEM said it was suspending already faltering negotiations with Sudan’s government, citing Khartoum’s aggression.
Pic: UNAMID peacekeepers