Darfur peacekeeper dies as Sudan denies evacuation request

Sudan denied a flight request for an emergency evacuation of a Unamid peacekeeper in West Darfur on Sunday. He died from his injuries hours later.

The Sudanese government denied a flight request for an emergency medical evacuation of a Unamid peacekeeper on Sunday. He died from his injuries, sustained in West Darfur, hours later.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deeply regrets the decision by the Sudanese government. In a press statement on Monday, he conveyed his condolences to the government of Ethiopia and the family of the deceased Ethiopian peacekeeper.

Ban Ki-moon called on Khartoum to respect the Status of Forces Agreement signed with the UN and lift all restrictions placed on the joint peacekeeping mission with the African Union in Darfur, Unamid. In the context of the ongoing discussion on the exit strategy for Unamid, he stressed the need for Sudan and the UN to work in full cooperation.

The Secretary-General further expressed his concerns about the recent increase in the number of attacks on Unamid soldiers, “and the limited cooperation provided by the Government of Sudan in addressing these incidents”. He pointed to and condemned the two attacks by “unidentified armed groups” that took place in Kass, South Darfur, on 23 and 24 April.

According to the mission, six peacekeepers were wounded and four attackers killed when Unamid troops returned fire in self-defence. Ban Ki-moon urged Sudan to bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice.

The peacekeeping mission has launched its own investigation into the incidents. Unamid officials said that their peacekeepers responded appropriately when they were attacked, and claimed that an erroneous version of the events is being put out to misinform the public and the Sudanese government.