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Peacekeepers Aid Villagers Attacked By Sudanese

UN-AU Peacekeepers Aid Darfur Villagers Attacked By Sudanese Forces

3 May 2008 - The United Nations-African Union hybrid peacekeeping operation has evacuated North Darfur villagers wounded in recent attacks by Sudanese forces that have left three dead and at least eight injured.

The joint operation - known as UNAMID - said it carried out successfully airlifted wounded civilians, "following SAF [Sudanese forces] air attacks on the village of Umm Sidir in North Darfur" on Thursday, according to a statement issued yesterday in El Fasher, capital of North Darfur and the mission's headquarters.

A UNAMID medical team flew to Umm Sidir to provide initial medical care to the victims of the attack - which left two men dead and eight seriously injured. In El Hashim and Heles, one woman was killed, while property and live-stock were destroyed.

The wounded, ranging in age from 17 to 40, were later flown by UNAMID forces to El Fasher where they were admitted to hospital. "One man, who has suffered severe head injuries from shrapnel, is said to be in a critical condition, another is awaiting surgery," the mission said. The other men are in a stable condition.

The evacuation was conducted at the request of humanitarian organizations and in coordination with Sudanese authorities.

Initial reports suggest that the area, which is controlled by the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), "has witnessed repeated aerial attacks and possible fighting between government and rebel forces during the course of the last few days."

Condemning attacks against civilians, UNAMID urged all parties to the Darfur conflict - which have claimed more than 200,000 lives and displaced nearly 2.5 million others since 2003 - to adhere to international humanitarian laws, which prohibit military attacks against civilians.

A UNAMID fact-finding mission is currently conducting an investigation on the ground, while the peacekeeping forces continue to monitor the situation, the mission noted.

ENDS

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