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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 March 2007, 01:36 GMT
AU peacekeepers killed in Sudan
A displaced woman in Sudan's Darfur region
Gereida is the site of Darfur's biggest camp for displaced people
Two African Union (AU) peacekeepers have been killed and a third seriously hurt in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

An AU statement said the soldiers were abducted before being shot in the town of Gereida in the western province.

The attack was carried out by a rebel faction who signed last year's peace agreement, the statement said.

The deaths - the latest in a series of incidents this week - bring to 11 the number of AU peacekeepers killed since their mission began in 2004.

Gereida is the site of Darfur's biggest camp for displaced people, with more than 130,000 refugees living in makeshift shelters.

For the last three months there has been only minimal assistance from the aid community.

In December 2006 humanitarian workers pulled out of the area after they were targeted by the rebels. A woman was raped and a mock execution staged.

'Friend or foe'

The BBC's Jonah Fisher in Khartoum says the most worrying thing for the AU is that the faction of the Sudan Liberation Army rebels who carried out the attack are supposedly their partners in implementing Darfur's peace agreement.

Most of the region's rebel factions are already hostile to the AU, regarding it as too close to the Sudanese government.

AU peacekeepers have a mandate to remain in Darfur until June 2007, after Sudan rejected plans for it to hand over to a larger, stronger UN mission.

Sudan's government and the pro-government Arab militias are accused of war crimes against the region's black African population, although the UN has stopped short of calling it genocide.

But the current force has failed to halt attacks on civilians which has led to some two million people living in camps.


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