News24

Sudan's Darfur peace office attacked

2012-08-15 21:20

Khartoum - Armed men seized a hostage and fired shots at the offices of the agency overseeing a peace deal in Sudan's Darfur region, international peacekeepers said on Wednesday.

The attack on Monday in the North Darfur state capital of El Fasher was the latest in a series of violent incidents in Sudan's far western region where a rebellion broke out nearly a decade ago.

The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (Unamid) said there was "an attack on the offices of the DRA by armed men who fired shots and temporarily took a hostage".

The Darfur Regional Authority was set up to implement a peace agreement reached last year between the Khartoum regime and an alliance of rebel splinter factions.

Key rebel groups refused to sign the deal.

DRA chief Eltigani Seisi, Darfur's top official, did not return a message requesting comment.

"The incident came to an end through the intervention of government security agents. Unamid received reports that two of the attackers were wounded and five arrested; no DRA personnel or visitors were injured," Unamid said, without identifying the suspects.

Acting Unamid chief Aichatou Mindaoudou and the peacekeeping force commander, Lieutenant General Patrick Nyamvumba, visited Seisi after the incident.

Mindaoudou "expressed concern that such acts of violence could undermine the peace process", a Unamid statement said.

Air strikes

The attack on the DRA came a day after gunmen surrounded and opened fire on a Unamid police compound in the South Darfur capital Nyala. One Bangladeshi peacekeeper was killed and another wounded, Unamid said.

Last Thursday, the peacekeeping mission said it had received reports from fleeing villagers of air strikes west of Shangil Tobay, south of El Fasher, in an area where the army says rebels are active.

On Friday, the UN reported that 25 000 people have been displaced around the North Darfur town of Kutum after unrest that began with the killing of a government official.

Sudanese security forces in Nyala shot dead eight people during a protest sparked by high prices on July 31.

Rebels drawn from black African tribes rose against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government in 2003 in a conflict the UN estimates killed at least 300 000 people. The government said 10 000 died.

Clashes between rebels and government troops, banditry and inter-ethnic fighting continue in the region but violence is much less than at its peak in the early years of the conflict.

The UN says about 1.7 million people are still living in camps for displaced people in Darfur.