An ambush on U.N. Peacekeepers left seven Tanzanian soldiers dead and 17 others wounded 15 miles, or 25 kilometers, from Khor Abeche in Darfur on July 13. The attack on the joint UN-AU United Nations Mission in Darfur, or UNAMID, patrol is the deadliest attack on peacekeeping forces in Sudan’s history.
A statement from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed outrage and extended condolences to the families of the slain troops. The attack has been condemned in a press release by the U.N. Security Council, which also demanded that the Sudanese government bring those responsible to justice and noted the recurrence of such attacks on peacekeeping forces:
“The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern at the serious nature of this attack, one of the most severe attacks on UNAMID since its deployment. They underlined that any attack or threat of attack on UNAMID is unacceptable, and demanded that there be no recurrence of such attacks. They reiterated their full support for UNAMID and called on all parties in Darfur to cooperate fully with the mission.”
Condemnations of the attack have also come from the African Union and the European Union. A.U. Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma extended her condolences and reiterated the mission’s commitment to peace in Darfur:
“The Chairperson further reaffirms that despite this attack, UNAMID will not be deterred in protecting civilians in Darfur, whilst efforts continue to be made towards implementing a peaceful and lasting solution to the crisis.”
The attack comes as the Secretary-General releases his last quarterly report on UNAMID before the Security Council is set to vote on an extension of the mission’s mandate, which expires at the end of this month.
Tanzania is calling for a stronger mandate after the ambush, army spokesman Kapambala Mgawe says:
"We want our troops in Darfur to be able to use force to enforce peace and defend themselves against future ambushes from rebels."
Also up for renewal is the mandate of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan, which seeks to bring a lasting agreement between Sudan and South Sudan on disputes stemming from the latter’s independence in 2011.
Recent fighting in Darfur and the corresponding humanitarian crisis are at their worst since the height of the genocide from 2003-2004, with over 300,000 Darfuris displaced since the beginning of this year.
Photo: UNAMID military personnel (AP).