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Attacks On Darfur Peacekeepers Underscore Force’s Incapacity

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Attacks On Darfur Peacekeepers Underscore Force’s Incapacity

Posted by Amanda Hsiao on December 8, 2009

Attacks On Darfur Peacekeepers Underscore Force's Incapacity

The latest attacks on the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur, or UNAMID, have yet again underscored the haplessness of the hybrid mission. Over the weekend, two attacks by unidentified gunmen left five Rwandan peacekeepers dead.

On Friday, gunmen ambushed a UNAMID military convoy that was escorting a water tanker in North Darfur. Two peacekeepers were killed and a third died subsequently from his injuries. According to UNAMID, the location of the attack was 300 meters, or a little over 300 yards, from a government of Sudan checkpoint, prompting Rwandan President Paul Kagame to demand an explanation from Khartoum.

Saturday’s attack took place at the entrance of a camp for internally displaced people. The gunmen shot at peacekeepers who were distributing water, killing three.

These incidents came on the heels of a report from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that detailed increasing insecurity in Darfur, with rising numbers of attacks, kidnappings, and robberies of UNAMID staff. In late August, two UNAMID staff members were kidnapped at gunpoint in West Darfur, and still remain in hostage.

The peacekeeping force remains short of almost 5,000 military personnel, while only 69% of police personnel have deployed. Absent the resources and political will required to make the mission effective, UNAMID remains unable to even protect itself, never mind the civilians it was sent to protect.


Photo: Darfur peacekeepers. (AP)