24 May 2014

South Sudan: Failed Mediation Dispute in Darfur Leaves Peacekeeper Dead, 3 Injured - UN Confirms

Armed men in Sudan's western region today killed a Rwandan peacekeeper and injured three others resulting in condemnations from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and senior official Mohamed Ibn Chambas who is urging the Sudanese Government to bring those responsible to account.

The peacekeepers were part of a UN-African Union mission (UNAMID) team attempting to mediate a tribal dispute between Fur people and Arab militia in a village in North Darfur.

"The Arab militia elements, nevertheless, became hostile towards UNAMID peacekeepers and started shooting at them," the Mission said, at which point the peacekeepers returned fire.

The three injured peacekeepers are in critical condition at an UNAMID hospital in Kabkabiya, west of El Fasher, the North Darfur state capital. A number of other people were also injured.

The Secretary-General has conveyed his condolences to the family of the fallen peacekeeper and the Government of Rwanda, and wishes for a full and speedy recovery to those injured, according to his spokesperson.

Mr. Chambas, UNAMID Joint Special Representative condemned the "heinous criminal act in the strongest possible terms".

"Our peacekeepers were trying to mediate the dispute in good faith and regrettably their efforts went unappreciated," he said.

Calling for justice, the Joint Special Representative stressed that the shootings amount "to a crime against humanity for which those responsible must be brought to account".

Since the inception of UNAMID in 2007, at least 58 peacekeepers were killed in hostile action in Darfur.

Inter-communal violence has increased in the region, according to Mr. Ban's latest report to the Security Council, which last month revised UNAMID's mandate. Among its revised responsibilities, the Mission is to mediate between the Government and non-signatory armed movements on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur; and to provide support, in conjunction with the UN Country Team, to the mediation of community conflict, including through measures to address its root causes.

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