The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: RDF, UN Condemn Killing of Rwandan Peacekeeper

The Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) yesterday condemned an attack in which one Rwandan peacekeeper was killed and two others injured in Darfur, Sudan, as they intervened to stop a feud between two tribal groups in the restive region on Saturday.

Defence and Military spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Joseph Nzabamwita, said the fighting broke out between Arabs and Fur tribesmen about 200 metres from Kabkabiya Base Camp, North Darfur.

"When the Commanding Officer was approaching, the Arabs opened fire on Rwanda peacekeepers and injured three of our soldiers. One was shot in the chest and later died at Level II Hospital, the other two sustained injuries and were rushed to hospital for treatment," Nzabamwita told The New Times yesterday.

He said the Rwandan peacekeepers retaliated in self-defence and consequently killed four of the attackers in action.

"We condemn this cowardly act of attacking peacekeepers who are acting in good faith to bring peace to Darfur. Our peacekeepers will not be intimidated by such criminal acts and shall continue to aggressively protect innocent civilians in line with our mandate," he said.

He also extended condolences to the family of the deceased, whose name he could not divulge, saying they will only reveal the peacekeeper's identity after the next of kin have been informed.

Meanwhile, the United Nation's Security Council, in a statement released yesterday, echoed a similar message, expressing condolences to the family of the peacekeeper, the government of Rwanda and Unamid.

They also called on the government of Sudan to swiftly investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The UN also reiterated its full support to Unamid and called on all parties in Darfur to cooperate fully with the mission.

The Unamid Joint Special Representative, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, equally condemned the attack.

"Our peacekeepers were trying to mediate a dispute and regrettably, they paid the ultimate price," Chambas said.

The RDF maintains over 3,000 peacekeepers in Darfur and had been deployed in the region under an African Union mandate, before the UN joined the mission to form a bigger hybrid force.

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