Friday, 5 August 2011

Sudan threatens to shoot a UN helicopter

UN Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping, Alain Le Roy, has said that Sudan threatened to shoot a helicopter trying to evacuate UN peacekeepers wounded by a landmine in the disputed Abyei region. Le Roy added that the three wounded soldiers died amid negotiations.

The peacekeepers were sent to Abyei earlier this month. Shortly after their arrival from Ethiopia, their convoy hit a landmine in Mabok, south-east of Abyei town. One of the men died instantly, the other three later.

Speaking about the incident, Le Roy said: “"We didn't get the clearance for the Medivac helicopter to take off immediately…They prevented us from taking off by threatening to shoot at the helicopter."

According to various reports, seven other peacekeepers were injured in the blast. The village where the landmine exploded had been occupied by troops loyal to the government in Khartoum, which has signed the Ottawa Treaty banning the use of anti-personnel mines.

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, Voice of America

For more news and expert analysis about the Sahara region, please see Sahara Focus.

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