UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — A top UN official told the Security Council Friday that the deadly attack on international peacekeepers in Darfur was a "well-prepared" operation conducted in a government-controlled area, according to a Western diplomat.
The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Jean-Marie Guehenno, the outgoing head of UN peacekeeping operations, made the remarks during a closed-door briefing on Tuesday's ambush that left seven peacekeepers of the joint UN-African Union force (UNAMID) dead and 22 others wounded.
Guehenno was quoted as saying that the ambush was designed "to inflict casualties" and was carried out with "equipment usually not used by (rebel) militias."
Thursday, Sudan accused Darfur rebels of orchestrating the ambush at Um Hakibah in North Darfur State, although a day earlier UNAMID officials that suspected government-backed Janjaweed militia were behind the attack.
Guehenno also warned that UNAMID "will be extremely vulnerable in the next few weeks" and called on Security Council members to provide more equipment to the under-manned force, according to the diplomat.
UNAMID has suffered a string of attacks since it assumed control from an African Union force, but Tuesday's ambush was the deadliest assault to hit the six-month-old mission.
UN officials have expressed fears that plans by International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo to seek an arrest warrant Monday for Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir for genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur could complicate peace efforts in Darfur.
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