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Violence in Darfur rises as more peacekeepers attacked

[Sudan] Armed men from the Sudan Liberation Movement Army (SLM/A) in Gereida town, south Darfur, Sudan, 24 February 2006. Despite a May peace deal, the UN says violence and displacement have increased in the region.
Une décennie de conflit (Derk Segaar/IRIN)

The ongoing violence in Sudan’s Darfur region continued to rise after three soldiers from the African Mission in Sudan (AMIS) were attacked by unidentified armed men on Tuesday near Sortony in North Darfur.

One man was killed and the other two were wounded in the attack, the third of its kind since the end of March. The three men were part of the Rwandan contingent of the African Union’s (AU) peacekeeping forces.

Tuesday’s death follows the killing of six other AU peacekeepers earlier this month.

A statement issued by AMIS described the killings as a “barbaric attack”, adding that an "investigation into this incident will be carried out to determine the circumstances under which this attack happened and to identify the assailants and their motives".

Earlier this month, Alpha Oumar Konaré, chairperson of the AU Commission, condemned the attacks, saying how "deeply shocked and saddened" he was by the series of incidents affecting AMIS. Konaré branded the events as clear violations of the ceasefire agreements currently in place in Darfur.

Photo: Derk Segaar/IRIN
Armed men from the Sudan Liberation Movement Army in Gereida town, south Darfur

Elsewhere, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has extended its condolences to AMIS and to the victims’ families, and expressed concern about the increasing number of attacks against AMIS or UN personnel.

Aid agencies operating in the region have begun refusing to travel with AU personnel for fear that the presence of AU peacekeepers will attract violent attacks.

Tuesday’s killing brings the number of AMIS deaths to 17, in addition to numerous casualties and the tens of cars that have been hijacked since AMIS began operations in 2004.

Other violent incidents this year include the deaths of eight AMIS personnel in North, South and West Darfur, as well as an attack on an AMIS helicopter carrying the AMIS Deputy Force Commander and his team.

Other acts of violence in the region include a government raid on an NGO compound in Nyala in January. Twenty people, including NGO workers, UN and AMIS staff, were arrested and abused.

Violence in the region has continued to rise and hostilities towards the 7,000-strong AU protection force are becoming more common. The AU peacekeepers were sent to Darfur in 2004 to protect civilians caught up in warfare between the Sudanese government and rebel groups in Darfur.

So far, AMIS has not been able to contain the fighting in Darfur. A more sizable, better-equipped UN peacekeeping force was proposed for September 2006, but due to Sudanese government opposition, it has not yet been implemented.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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