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UNAMID peacekeeper killed in South Darfur

February 29, 2012 – A soldier of the United Nations - African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) was killed today in an attack carried out by unidentified gunmen in South Darfur state.

"The incident, in which the peacekeepers returned fire, took place at approximately 16:00 hours near Shearia town, located roughly 90 kilometres north east of Nyala, South Darfur," said UNAMID in a short statement issued on Wednesday.

Three other peacekeepers were injured in the ambush which comes five days after another attack against a UNAMID bus in the neighbouring East Darfur state, in which two peacekeepers were wounded.

The mission vowed recently to defend itself as allowed in its mandate after a two day blockage of a long-range patrol by the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in north western Darfur.

The recent increase in UNAMID patrols jeopardises the efforts by the operation to support the implementation of Doha peace document which the government signed with the former rebel group Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) in July 2011.

Sudanese government which accuses the rebels of these assaults recently threatened to attack Darfur rebel groups, repeating the large scale attacks launched after Abuja peace agreement of May 2006 when which led to the displacement of thousands of civilians.

Wednesday’s attack brings to 36 the number of peacekeepers killed in Darfur since taking over from the African Union forces at the end of 2007.

The mission did not disclose the nationality of the lost soldier but Nigerian troops are deployed in the South Darfur state.

(ST)