Page last updated at 15:02 GMT, Saturday, 5 December 2009

Three Rwandan peacekeepers killed in Sudan's Darfur


Three Rwandan peacekeepers have been killed and two seriously wounded in Sudan's Darfur region, the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force says.

The death toll rose to three after a Rwandan died of his wounds after being evacuated, a spokesman for Unamid said.

Gunmen had fired on a group of 20 peacekeepers escorting a water tanker.

Rights groups estimate 300,000 people have been killed since the conflict began in 2003, although Khartoum has put the death toll at about 10,000.

However, overall levels of violence have fallen in the region in recent months.

Twenty Unamid personnel have died in troubled Darfur in the past two years.

Unamid spokesman Kemal Saiki told reporters the group of Rwandan peacekeepers had been ambushed by unknown armed men.

The peacekeepers had returned fire on their attackers as they fled but had been careful to avoid civilian casualties, he said.

The attack took place about 2km (1.24 miles) from a Unamid base in the village of Saraf Omra, near a Sudanese government checkpoint.

As of late October, Unamid had just over 19,000 uniformed personnel on the ground in Darfur.

Violence flared in Darfur in 2003 when black African rebel groups took up arms against the Sudanese government in Khartoum, complaining of discrimination and neglect.

Pro-government Arab militias then started a campaign of violence, targeting the black African population.

About 2.7 million people are thought to have been displaced during the six-year conflict.

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