(AA) – A complaint was lodged Friday against the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) requesting the prosecution of several UNAMID troops for alleged “involvement in the killing of civilians,” a Sudanese judicial source has said.
The move comes amid mounting tension between UNAMID and the Sudanese government, with the latter accusing mission troops of killing unarmed civilians in the country’s western Darfur province.
UNAMID, for its part, says its troops were attacked first.
“A complaint has been lodged… against UNAMID in preparation for lifting immunity from some of its members who have been implicated in the events of Kas [a city in Sudan’s South Darfur state] and prosecuting them,” the regime-linked Sudan Media Center quoted Kas’ chief prosecutor as saying.
“The complaint will be referred to Sudan’s attorney-general to carry out procedures related to lifting UNAMID’s immunity,” the center asserted without saying which government entity filed the complaint.
Late last month, UNAMID said its forces had repelled two assaults by unknown militants in Darfur, which left four of the latter dead and six mission troops and one attacker injured.
“The first attack took place on April 23 around 18:00 hours, when about 40 gunmen on horses and camels opened fire on Nigerian troops protecting a water point,” UNAMID stated.
“The attackers made off with one of the mission’s vehicles after shooting the driver. The peacekeepers pursued and recovered the vehicle,” the mission added.
“Four attackers were killed and two peacekeepers and one assailant injured during the exchange of gunfire,” UNAMID said, adding that it had handed the bodies of the four slain attackers – along with the injured person – over to Sudanese police.
UNAMID has been operating in Darfur since early 2008.
With a total budget of $1.4 billion in 2013, it is the second largest peacekeeping mission in the world, containing 20,000 troops, police and personnel from different countries.
Since 2003, Darfur has been the scene of a simmering conflict between the Sudanese government and three rebel movements, which, according to the UN, has left some 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced.
In 2009, the Darfur conflict prompted the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir amid allegations that Sudanese troops and allied militias had committed atrocities in the troubled region.