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UN wants peacekeeper killings probed

20 October 2012, 13:44

Geneva - The UN human rights office demanded on Friday that Sudan investigate the killing of five UN peacekeepers, including an attack with mortar fire and automatic weapons on a convoy heading to a village to check out reports of a massacre of 70 civilians.

UN high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay's office said Sudan "must promptly launch a serious investigation with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice" in Wednesday's killing of a South African UN peacekeeper in the convoy attack and the 2 October killing of four Nigerian peacekeepers in an ambush in Sudan's restive West Darfur region.

The convoy was attacked while going to North Darfur to investigate the civilian killings and Sudan must investigate the killings of the five peacekeepers because it is responsible for protecting the African Union-UN mission's staff, Pillay's spokesperson, Ravina Shamdasani, told reporters on Friday in Geneva.

Three others were injured in Wednesday's attack.

"There is an urgent need to end the climate of impunity in Darfur, which encourages such attacks," she said.

Shamdasani says unknown assailants ambushed a convoy of military, police and civilian staff on Wednesday as it headed to the village of Hashaba in North Darfur to investigate the reported killing of 70 civilians there last month.

She declined to comment further on the incident or about whether the UN had firm evidence to conclude that the attack on the convoy occurred because it was going to investigate the killings.

Earlier this month the four Nigerian peacekeepers were killed and eight wounded in an ambush in El-Geneina, in West Darfur.

Darfur has been torn by conflict since 2003, when rebels took up arms against the central government, accusing it of discrimination and neglect.

Violence has tapered off, but clashes continue and peacekeepers remain a target.

- AP


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