Darfur peacekeepers reported yesterday that 10 people were killed during a recent air attack by the Sudanese army in the restive region of Darfur.
The joint peacekeeping operation stated last week it was sending teams to investigate a number of air strikes reported in the region on 18 May. The Sudanese army slammed the announcement saying it has the right to fight and pursue the rebels opposed to the peace process.
“A UNAMID patrol has confirmed air strikes on 18 May in the North Darfur villages of Um Rayi and Hashaba, 72 km and 62 km northeast of Kutum respectively. According to residents, the attacks resulted in more than ten deaths,” the peacekeeping operation said.
The hybrid mission further said that there were no casualties reported from Baashim village, 80 km northeast of Kutum, also bombed by the Sudanese air force on 18 May.
UNAMID, three years after its establishment, has become a central partner for the humanitarian agencies and aid groups. It is also subjected to attacks and criticisms from the government and rebel groups in the region.
A media outlet known for its connections with the ruling party and the security services, SMC, disseminated a series of reports against UNAMID accusing it of supporting the rebel groups.
The largest peacekeeping operation also hires many local employees to facilitate its various activities in the IDP camps in Darfur where the Sudanese security service arrested, earlier this month, a local staff member named Hawa Abdella.
The SMC claimed that Hawa is an active member of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid Al-Nur and said it she was arrested for carrying out “extensive Christianization” of children inside IDP camps.
UNAMID chief, Ibrahim Gambari, last week called for the immediate release of two civilian members of staff arrested by Sudanese authorities.
In a meeting with the mission staff Gambari said the arrest of the two local staff members contravened the agreement signed between the hybrid mission and the and the Government of Sudan.
In accordance with the signed agreement “should the Government consider that any member of UNAMID has committed a criminal offence, it shall promptly inform the Joint Special Representative and present to him any evidence available to it…” he told the meeting.
“The JSR shall conduct any necessary supplementary inquiry and then agree with the Government whether or not criminal proceedings should be instituted,” he added.
The head of the mission however said he has so far received no such information on the staff being held.