Ex Darfur rebels detain three over peacekeeper killing


Former Darfur rebels said they had detained three men suspected of killing two Rwandan peacekeepers in a shoot-out that soured relations between Khartoum and Kigali.

Two Rwandan members of the joint UN/African Union UNAMID peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s Darfur region were shot dead as they distributed water in a refugee camp in the settlement of Shangil Tobay on Saturday.

A day earlier, three other Rwandan peacekeepers were killed in an ambush as they escorted a water tanker near the North Darfur settlement of Saraf Omra.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame said Khartoum needed to explain the double attack, and how the shootings had happened so close to Sudanese army positions.

Sudan’s foreign ministry condemned both attacks, describing them as “a criminal act and terrorist activity”.

A spokeperson for former Darfur rebel leader Minni Arcua Minnawi told Reuters his forces launched an investigation and arrested three men thought to be behind the Shangil Tobay shooting.

Minnawi’s forces had agreed to hand over the suspects to Sudanese authorities in Shangil Tobay later on Tuesday, said UNAMID communications chief Kemal Saiki.
“Minnawi’s forces said the men had been engaged in criminal activity, trying to snatch vehicles,” he said. “UNAMID human rights officers will monitor the handover.”

Minnawi’s arm of the Sudan Liberation Army was the only insurgent force to sign a failed peace deal with Khartoum in 2006. Minnawi is now Senior Assistant to Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

The governor of north Darfur, Osman Kebir, told Sudan’s state Suna news agency a number of men suspected of the first ambush had been arrested and would be charged.

The shooting brought to 22 the number of peacekeepers killed since the undermanned force was deployed in January 2008.