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Darfur peacekeeper killed in ambush: force spokesman

Eight gunmen attacked a group of international peacekeepers on patrol in Sudan's Darfur region on Tuesday, killing one in what the force's spokesman described as a "cold-blooded ambush".

world Updated: Mar 17, 2009 21:08 IST

Eight gunmen attacked a group of international peacekeepers on patrol in Sudan's Darfur region on Tuesday, killing one in what the force's spokesman described as a "cold-blooded ambush".

It was the first time a peacekeeper has been killed in Darfur since the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's President on March 4, accusing him of war crimes in Darfur.

"UNAMID peacekeepers coming back from a patrol in Nyala were ambushed by eight unidentified gunmen," spokesman Kemal Saiki of the joint United Nations/African Union force said. He said one peacekeeper was killed.

"This was not a carjacking gone wrong. This was a cold-blooded ambush. They were waiting for us."

International experts say at least 200,000 people have been killed in Darfur, a mainly desert region in western Sudan, while Khartoum says 10,000 have died. The conflict flared when mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government in 2003.

Some analysts say the ICC warrant against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir could spark more violence in Darfur, where peacekeepers and civilians have been caught in the middle of the conflict. Just over a week ago, gunmen also wounded four peacekeepers in an ambush in Darfur.

(Reporting by Andrew Heavens in Khartoum; Writing by Cynthia Johnston)