14 July 2013

Sudan Accusses SLA-Minnawi of Attacking UNAMID Peacekeepers

Photo: /David Manyua/UN
Peacekeeping force guards supply convoy of soldiers from the joint African Union United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

Khartoum — The Sudanese government has accused the rebel Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi (SLA-MM) of attacking the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) troops yesterday and held it responsible for the assault which it described as "brutal".

On Saturday, unidentified gunmen attacked a UNAMID patrol in South Darfur state 25 kilometers west of the UNAMID base in Khor Abeche, killing seven Tanzanian soldiers.

Seventeen peacekeepers were also wounded including two female police officers.

In a statement issued by Sudan's foreign ministry, the government underscored its commitment to conduct an urgent investigation into the incident and bring perpetrators to justice.

The government stressed that SLA-MM and its Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) allies pose the biggest threat to peace in the region.

The statement called upon the international community to take serious steps to end the attacks of rebel groups which it described as "criminal" and to hold the perpetrators accountable for these crimes against humanity as well as stop all forms of cooperation and support rendered to them.

The foreign ministry further noted that the attack represents a desperate attempt to abort the noble task undertaken by the UNAMID and to undermine the peace process in Darfur particularly as the region is witnessing a remarkable improvement in the security situation.

The foreign ministry stressed that the "cowardly" attack will not discourage the government from continuing its efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in Darfur and provide all kinds of support and cooperation for the UNAMID.

Yesterday SLA-MM issued a statement condemning the deadly attack on UNAMID forces and blamed on government militias.

The rebel group expressed regret that UNAMID is unable to protect itself even though it is tasked with protecting civilians.

Nyala, South Darfur state capital, and surrounding areas witnessed recently several attacks conducted by former government militia members.

On 3 July, unknown assailants ambushed a UNAMID patrol in Lavado, East Darfur. Three Nigerian peacekeepers were wounded and one of attackers was killed.

The hybrid mission since January of this year played an important role to provide with the vital aid to civilians affected by tribal clashes in different areas which has escalated in recent months.

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