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As 7 UN Peacekeepers Killed in Sudan After Ladsous Met Bashir, Now at Bastille

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 13, updated – Seven UN peacekeepers were killed in Darfur today, shortly after a visit by UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous to Sudan, including meeting with president Omar al Bashir, indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide in Darfur.

  While in Khartoum, Ladsous bragged about “keeping the body” of an assailant in Darfur and also claimed, despite his meeting with Bashir, that he cannot accept impunity. Back in New York, he refused repeated to answer Press questions about his statements in Sudan.

  Under Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row atop UN Peacekeeping, there have been at least two trends: the missions become more closely aligned with governments (and French foreign policy) against opposition groups, as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mali, and more deaths and injuries among peacekeepers.

  And, Ladsous has refused to answer critical questions from the Press, choosing to seek out small groups of friendly reporters even on the kidnapping of peacekeeper in the Golan Heights.

  While the seven peacekeepers were being killed in Darfur, Ladsous was in Paris with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for the colonial Bastille Day military parade featuring soldiers from Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Chad (a country currently on the UN child soldier recruitment list, but accepted by Ladsous for the UN's MINUSMA mission in Mali.
Would Ladsous take and answer questions there? Or upon his post-parade return to New York?

Here's what, after publication of the above, UNAMID put out:

On 13 July, a joint patrol of the African Union - United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) was ambushed in South Darfur.   The incident, which began at 9:00 hours, occurred approximately 25 kilometers west of the Mission's Khor Abeche team site.

 The UNAMID team came under heavy fire from a large unidentified group. Following an extended firefight, the patrol was extracted by UNAMID reinforcements that arrived from the Mission's Khor Abeche and Manawashi team sites. Seven UNAMID military peacekeepers were killed and 17 military and Police personnel, among them two female Police Advisers, were wounded.  

"The Mission condemns in the strongest possible terms those responsible for this heinous attack on our peacekeepers," said UNAMID Joint Special Representative Mohamed Ibn Chambas. "The perpetrators should be on notice that they will be pursued for this crime and gross violation of international humanitarian law."

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