Peacekeepers in Darfur are mourning seven soldiers killed in an ambush by suspected Arab militia. UN and African Union troops fought off a two-hour attack by assailants armed with heavy weapons in the north of the region. It is not known if their attackers were allied to the Sudanese government.
The dead and injured were part of a routine patrol which was confronted by 40 vehicles full of armed men. Michele Montas, a UN spokeswoman, said:
“The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest possible terms this unacceptable act of violence against UN peacekeepers in Darfur, and calls on the government of Sudan to do its utmost to ensure that the perpetrators are swiftly identified and brought to justice.”
Darfur’s main rebel groups have denied any involvement. Arab militia, mobilised by Khartoum in 2003 to quell a revolt by non Arab rebels, have long been hostile to the peacekeepers.