Gunmen murdered seven members of a United Nations and African Union peacekeeping team and injured 17 in Sudan’s western region of Darfur on Saturday.
This incident is the deadliest single attack on the UN in the country and the third attack on a UN team in three weeks. The perpetrators used machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
Attackers have killed 150 on-duty operatives from these teams, which draws membership from over 40 countries, since the UN began deploying them in 2008. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but groups are angry over the peacekeeping teams’ presence.
The dead from this particular attack hail from the nearby country Tanzania, and Tanzania’s deputy foreign minister Mahadhi Juma Maalim released a statement on Sunday lamenting the loss of life. From the Associated Press:
“Tanzania is saddened by this attack that led to (the) killings of our soldiers who went there to keep peace,” Maalim said. “It’s shocking to Tanzania and members of the family of soldiers killed in Darfur.”
Maalim promised the slain peacekeepers’ families will be notified as soon as possible.
Tanzania is stable and is very active in peacekeeping teams in surrounding countries. They will send teams to the eastern Congo, along with Malawi and South Africa, with other UN teams to fight rebels.
Sudan’s unrest started in 2003 in clashes between government and rebel forces. More than 300,000 people have lost their lives in the conflict, and the International Criminal Court indicted President Omar al-Bashir in 2009 on genocide and war crimes charges. In 2011, South Sudan voted to break off from Sudan.