SA peacekeeper killed in Sudan

A South African peacekeeper was killed and three others wounded in Darfur, Sudan.

A United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) which was caught in an ambush in Dafur - October 2012. Picture: AFP/UNAMID/Albert Gonzalez Farran

PRETORIA - A South African peacekeeper was killed and three others wounded in an ambush in Sudan's western Darfur region on Wednesday, the international force UNAMID said, two weeks after four Nigerian peacekeepers were killed.

UNAMID, the world's largest peacekeeping mission, was deployed by the United Nations and the African Union in the arid western territory after fierce fighting in 2003, which forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

Unknown assailants ambushed an UNAMID convoy 10km outside Hashaba North, Darfur, UNAMID said in a statement.

United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has demanded an investigation to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.

He expressed his condolences to the South African government, UNAMID and to the family of the fallen peacekeeper.

Earlier this month, four Nigerian peacekeepers were killed and eight wounded in an ambush near El Geneina in western Darfur.

A total of 43 peacekeepers have been killed since UNAMID was setup, according to the force.

Violence in Darfur, where mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government in Khartoum, has ebbed from a 2003-04 peak, but international efforts to broker peace have failed to end the conflict.

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and other officials to face charges of masterminding atrocities in the region where Sudanese troops and allied Arab militias have sought to crush the rebellion.

Estimates of the death count vary widely.

Sudan's government signed a Qatar-sponsored peace deal with an umbrella organisation of smaller rebel groups last year, but the major factions refused to join.