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U.N. peacekeeper killed in Darfur attack

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 10:31 AM EST, Mon November 7, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The peacekeeper died in an attack Sunday, officials say
  • A suspect has been handed over to Sudanese police
  • 34 peacekeepers have died in the region since December 2007

(CNN) -- A U.N. peacekeeper died in an attack launched by "unidentified armed persons" in the south Darfur region of Sudan, the global body said Monday.

The attack Sunday targeted an African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur patrol near Nyala, the mission said in a statement. One soldier was killed and two were wounded. All three were from Sierra Leone, the statement said.

After the incident, peacekeepers searched the area and apprehended a suspect, the statement said. The suspect was handed over to Sudanese police.

"I am deeply distressed by and in the strongest terms denounce all violence on our peacekeepers who work relentlessly to bring security and protection to the people of Darfur," said Ibrahim Gambari, joint special representative and head of the U.N. mission, in the statement.

He called upon Sudanese authorities to conduct a full investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice, and called the attack particularly deplorable as it coincided with the Eid Al-Adha Muslim holiday.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack in a statement Sunday and extended "his heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the government of Sierra Leone, the families of the three soldiers and their colleagues in Darfur," according to a statement.

Since the U.N. Mission in Darfur was deployed on December 31, 2007, 34 peacekeepers have died in hostile action, the mission said.

Last month, two Rwandan soldiers and a Senegalese police adviser died in an ambush in a camp for displaced people in north Darfur.

The peacekeeping mission in Darfur is the world's largest at 20,000 authorized troops.

Darfur is one of the most dangerous areas of the world for U.N. personnel. At least 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million others driven from their homes as a result of fighting between Sudanese rebel groups and the Khartoum government and its allied armed militia.

CNN's David McKenzie contributed to this report.

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