Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) has made assurances that the ambush mounted against UN peacekeepers in Darfur (UNAMID) on Tuesday did not involve any of the Rwandan troops.
RDF Spokesperson Maj Jill Rutaremara made the assurance after an ambush by eight unknown gunmen opened fire on a peacekeepers’ escort patrol vehicle, wounding one of the peacekeepers, who later died.
The attack on the peacekeepers who were returning to their base took place in Nyala Town, South Darfur, forcing them to return fire in self-defense but in the process one of them was shot and later died after being airlifted to the UNAMID base in El-Fashar, Northern Darfur.
The ambush on the peacekeepers, the second in just a week in the war-torn region of Sudan, following the March 5 International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment of Sudanese President Omar Bashir, is already raising fears that the peacekeepers will be targeted by militias.
Four soldiers were wounded last week in an ambush in Geneina, Western Darfur.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, the Army Spokesperson said that he had contacted Rwandan forces deployed in North Darfur and in the battalion in the Western part of Darfur and no causalities were reported and were not part of the attacked groups.
The dead soldier who has not been named yet brings the total number of peacekeepers killed in Darfur to 14 since the Hybrid force took over from the AU Peacekeeping mission in January 2008.
Following the increased attacks on the Peacekeepers, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday came out strongly to condemn the attacks on the forces whose role is to restore peace in the war torn area and engage in humanitarian work.
Tensions are high in Sudan in the wake of the ICC indictment of the Omar-el-Bashir for humanitarian crimes in Darfur which was followed by the Sudanese Leader imposing tough rules on aid agencies operating in the area.
It was feared that the UN Force would also required to vacate Sudan but the RDF Spokesperson downplayed the fears, noting that the UNAMID force under the framework of the AU and the UN is operating on the consent of the Sudanese Government and follow the rules and regulations.
Rwanda has over 3,500 soldiers in the UNAMID Hybrid force.