07 March 2010 - Missing peacekeepers return safely to base
UNAMID PR / 013-2010
El Fasher, 07 March 2010 – The UNAMID team site of Kass in South Darfur, 85 kilometers north west of Nyala, reported that the two peacekeepers declared missing after the ambush of their patrol while on its way to Deribat on 05 March 2010 by a group of unidentified armed men, have safely returned to base with the assistance of the population of the area.
The soldiers were able to make contact with the Kass team site at approximately 12:35 hours today and provide indication of their location. A Search and Rescue patrol was immediately dispatched to collect them. The two peacekeepers were found suffering from dehydration but were listed as in stable condition after receiving appropriate medical attention.
On 05 March 2010, a UNAMID assessment patrol composed of Protection Force elements, Military Observers and UNAMID Civilian Police; was detailed to Deribat, in the Jebel Marra region of South Darfur, to assess the security and humanitarian situation following unconfirmed reports of armed clashes in the area, to pave the way for the provision of humanitarian emergency relief.
The patrol was ambushed and its peacekeepers detained before being released the next day, although robbed of their vehicles, supplies, equipment, personal belongings and money. Shots were fired by the attackers to cow the UNAMID soldiers into submission when they resisted attempts to disarm them. A peacekeeper was shot in the head during the incident but was saved by his helmet and only suffered a minor, non-life threatening injury.
Two Protection Force personnel could not be accounted for and were reported missing. It was not until their return to base that details of their ordeal emerged. The two UNAMID soldiers were able to evade capture at the time of the ambush and escaped, trekking over long distances at night in the desert, attempting to return to their team site. They encountered locals who helped them find their way to a place from where they could contact their comrades and command.
UNAMID expresses its thanks and gratitude to the local population for the solidarity and assistance extended to its peacekeepers, enabling them to re-unite with their colleagues.
UNAMID also reiterates its commitment to finding a lasting solution to the Darfur conflict and calls on all Darfuris to support its efforts, as the people of Jebel Marra have assisted and supported its peacekeepers in times of need.
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