12 July 2008, UNAMID Honours its Slain Peacekeepers in an Official Ceremony in North Darfur

1 Dec 2008

12 July 2008, UNAMID Honours its Slain Peacekeepers in an Official Ceremony in North Darfur

12 July 2008, El Fasher/North Darfur State
UNAMID Press Release

UNAMID Honours its Slain Peacekeepers
in an Official Ceremony in North Darfur

In a solemn funeral ceremony, the African Union-United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) honoured the seven peacekeepers, who lost their lives during the deadly ambush on a UNAMID patrol in North Darfur, on 8 July.

The ceremony was held at the headquarters of the Mission in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur. In attendance were UNAMID personnel, lead by Joint Special Representative (JSR), Mr. Rodolphe Adada, Force Commander, General Martin Luther Agwai, Deputy Police Commissioner, Elizabeth Muwanga and the Mission’s senior managers.

As the funeral trumpet played a mournful tune, peacekeepers stood in honour of the dead. Seven caskets, carried by pallbearers from the UNAMID military and police forces, slowly made their way to the funeral ground, wrapped in the flags of the United Nations and the African Union.

Short prayers were delivered followed by speeches by the UNAMID leadership.

Joint Special Representative Rodolphe Adada said, “I am standing here …filled with pain and anger over this shocking turn of events. Those who are trying to protect the peace in Darfur become the victims of violence and indiscriminate injustice.”

Despite the solemn mood and grief, the Mission pledged its determination to continue to carry out its mandated role, undeterred.

Addressing his staff, Adada said, “Despite the pain, you …and I… will continue to protect those we came here to protect … those who need our presence and our patrols. We will take the torch of bravery from these seven soldiers and run with it till the end. This is our collective commitment to all the helpless civilians in Darfur, and it is our commitment to the brave seven.”

Force Commander, Agwai, urged peacekeepers not to give-up, “We remain resolute in our quest,” he said.

He condemned the attack in the strongest terms, adding that, “peacekeepers are not part of the problem … they are here to give hope to those who have been reduced to displaced in their own country. To, therefore, turn around and make the peacekeepers targets is totally unjustifiable.”

Words of condolence were sent to the families of the deceased and to their respective governments. On behalf of the Mission, the Force Commander said, “On this tragic occasion, I wish to commiserate with the governments of Rwanda, Ghana and Uganda for the loss of their soldiers in the course of peace. I pray the good Lord grants the deceased families the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.”

UNAMID lost five soldiers from Rwanda and two policemen from Ghana and Uganda, in the course of the attack.

The Deputy Police Commissioner retaliated that those who committed this outrageous attack must be brought to justice.

At the end of the ceremony, Mission leaders called on the Sudanese Government and signatories to the Darfur Peace Agreement to make every effort to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of the attack. The people of Darfur were also urged to cooperate with the Mission to establish a degree of security in Darfur.

Notes to Editors:

- The names and nationalities of the Slain Peacekeepers:

From Rwanda:
Corporal Charles Kabera
Corporal Nzitonda Bisukiro
Private Janvier Burasiyo
Private Theogene Murindabigwi
Private Emmanuel Semhundu

From Uganda:
Suptd. Julius Osega

From Ghana:
Sgt. Joseph Dawson