10 July 2008 The United Nations has launched an initial enquiry into Tuesday’s attack on its joint peacekeeping force with the African Union (AU) in the war-torn region of Darfur, which resulted in the deaths of 7 blue helmets, while Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the Sudanese Government to bring the perpetrators to justice quickly.
In addition to the five Rwandan peacekeepers and two police officers – one from Ghana and the other from Uganda – who were killed, 19 others – and not 22 as initially reported – were wounded when a patrol from the force known as UNAMID came under attack in North Darfur.
“I condemn such violence in the strongest possible terms,” Mr. Ban said today at a press conference in New York, adding that the UN will continue its “impartial” efforts to fulfil the Security Council’s mandate and bring peace to the region.
His spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters that “a preliminary fact-finding investigation is underway, which will be followed by an official investigation.”
UNAMID reports that seven of its vehicles were removed by the attackers. Two others were burnt and an armoured personnel carrier was vandalized.
The joint UNAMID military and police team was on a patrol to conduct an investigation into the killing of civilians in the area when they came under attack.
The perpetrators were onboard 40 vehicles mounted with heavy machine guns, anti-aircraft weaponry and recoilless weapons, the mission said.
During the attack, the team was engaged in a heavy and sustained fire, which lasted for about three hours, resulting in the loss of lives and severe injuries.
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