Page last updated at 10:46 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 11:46 UK

Darfur ambush kills peacekeeper

UN peacekeepers in Darfur
There has been a rise in attacks on peacekeepers in Darfur

A peacekeeper has been killed in an ambush by dozens of armed bandits in the Sudanese region of Darfur, a UN official has said.

The Nigerian peacekeeper died on Monday during an exchange of fire between a Unamid patrol and 40-60 bandits north of Nyala, the official said.

The BBC's Amber Henshaw in the capital, Khartoum, said it was not immediately clear who had launched the attack.

An estimated 300,000 people have died in five years of conflict in Darfur.

Some 2.7 million people have been displaced, according to the UN.

The killing of the peacekeeper comes amid a recent rise in the number of attacks against the joint UN-African Union (Unamid) peacekeeping force in Darfur, our correspondent says.

The situation on the ground in Darfur has become increasingly complicated and anarchic as more and more groups take advantage of the lawless situation there, she reports.

The conflict in Darfur began in 2003 when mainly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government in Khartoum, complaining of discrimination.

Arab Janjaweed militias are accused of atrocities while retaliating with attacks on black African civilians in Darfur. Sudan's government denies mobilising the militias.

The new head of UN peacekeeping recently said that only half of the 26,000 troops authorised for the Unamid force would be deployed by the end of the year.

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