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May 30th, 2008
First U.N.-African Union Peacekeeper Killed in Darfur

A member of the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur was shot and killed in a refugee camp outside the North Darfur capital El Fasher on Wednesday.

The unarmed Ugandan police officer, John Kennedy Okecha, is the first international peacekeeper to be killed since the joint mission took over from an African Union mission in December.

Last week, Nigerian peacekeepers were ambushed by a group of about 60 men on horseback armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, but no one was killed. The attackers were most likely members of the janjaweed militia, who often conduct raids on horseback.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guéhenno warned of escalating violence in Darfur earlier this month, after Darfur rebels attacked Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman.

Speaking on the 60th anniversary of U.N. peacekeeping yesterday, Guéhenno complained about the weak mandate and lack of resources devoted to Darfur.

“It’s not enough to authorize a mission, you have to give that mission the means to do the job,” he said. “We don’t have the firepower that would allow us to do what we’re expected to do. And that’s very dangerous.”

To understand more about the current situation in Darfur, particularly about the difficulties faced by the U.N.-African Union mission, and to hear more from U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guéhenno, tune into the premiere episode of WIDE ANGLE on July 1.

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