2 peacekeepers wounded in ambush in Sudan's Darfur

AP News
Posted: Feb 25, 2012 11:32 AM
2 peacekeepers wounded in ambush in Sudan's Darfur

Gunmen ambushed a bus carrying international peacekeepers in the Darfur region of Sudan, wounding two peacekeepers, the joint United Nations-African Union mission said Saturday.

The mission, known as UNAMID, said the peacekeepers were shot near the town of el-Dein on Friday when their bus came under attack just outside the unit's base camp in Sudan's East Darfur state.

Friday's attack brings to five the number of UNAMID personnel wounded in clashes in Darfur since the beginning of the year, according to the mission. One peacekeeper has been killed this year.

Earlier this week, that three civilians with the peacekeeping force were held by the rebel Justice and Equality Movement in Darfur and accused of being spies. They were released after UNAMID troops amassed in large numbers in the area and warned that they could use force if necessary.

Darfur has been in turmoil since 2003, when ethnic African rebels accusing the Arab-dominated Sudanese government of discrimination took up arms against it. The Khartoum government is accused of retaliating by unleashing Arab militias on civilians _ a charge the government denies. The U.N. estimates 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have been displaced in the conflict.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued an international arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir for his alleged role in crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Also, the United Nations in Sudan said its international staff has returned to a disputed region on the border with South Sudan after a nearly half-year absence from the restive area.

The U.N. office in Khartoum said in a statement Friday that two of its international staff had arrived in the state capital of the oil-producing region called South Kordofan.

The United Nations international staff pulled out of the region last July following an outbreak of fighting between government forces and members of the Sudan People's Liberation Army. Local staffers remained after the Sudanese government said it feared for the lives of the international staffers. But early last week the government said it was now safe for them to return.