UN Peacekeeper Killed, Another Wounded in Sudan's North Darfur
By Heba Aly
Oct. 30 (Bloomberg) -- A South African soldier serving with the United Nations-led peacekeeping mission in Sudan's Darfur region was killed yesterday, bringing the death toll among the force's members to 11 since July, the UN said.
Gunmen yesterday attacked peacekeepers in the Kutum area of northern Darfur, Noureddine Mezni, spokesman of the UN-African Union mission, known as Unamid, said by phone from El-Fasher. One male soldier died of his injuries, while a female South African trooper was wounded, he said.
``With this South African soldier, we have now lost 11 peacekeepers since the beginning of the mission,'' Mezni said.
Unamid took over control of peacekeeping in Darfur from the exclusively African Union operation on Dec. 31 last year and so far has deployed less than half the mandated 26,000 troops, police and staff. The mission's goal is to help halt a conflict that has lasted almost six years, claimed the lives of as many as 300,000 people and driven 3 million more from their homes.
A Nigerian soldier was killed on Oct. 6 in southern Darfur in an attack on his convoy. In July, seven peacekeepers were killed and 22 injured in a single ambush on a police and military patrol. The same month another peacekeeper was shot and killed in western Darfur by gunmen in five vehicles. A 10th died in September when she was stung by a scorpion.
The Darfur conflict began when insurgents demanding a greater share of Sudan's political power and wealth attacked forces loyal to the government of President Umar al-Bashir. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has charged Bashir with genocide and war crimes.
To contact the reporter on this story: Heba Aly in Khartoum via Johannesburg at [email protected].