Darfur rebels attack UN helicopter on relief mission

Khartoum- Sudan (PANA) -- The United Nations Joint Peacekeeping Mission in Darfur said its helicopter came under fire on Monday as it distributed food aid in Dar f ur days after fierce fighting in South Darfur showed signs of easing.
The UN Hybrid Force in Darfur (UNAMID) said its helicopter was fired at repeated ly as it distributed food aid in Darfur but the helicopter later landed safely w i th its windscreens severely smashed.
The UNAMID officials said they were investi g ating the violence.
The UNAMID force commanders did not name the suspects in the attack but said the ir personnel aboard the helicopter escaped unhurt.
In a report filed from UNAMID headquarters, the force said its helicopter, an Mi -8, was repeatedly fired at over the Darfurian airspace as it dropped food for t h e residents of Darfur, who have been severely affected by the continuous rebel f i ghting in the region.
The incident occurred in Darfur as UNAMID force commanders visited the volatile region of Muhajeria, in South Darfur, the scene of recent fighting in Darfur aft e r a freak rebel takeover, which forced the government to launch a series of reta l iatory attacks.
The security situation in the South Darfur town of Muhajeriya, where Sudanese Go vernment forces recently fought members of the rebel Justice and Equality Moveme n t (JEM), is reported to be calm.
A large number of local civilians are still gathered outside the UNAMID base nea r the town, while a few have began returning to their homes, the joint UN-Africa n Union force said in a statement issued on Sunday.
UNAMID's Joint Special Representative, Mr.
Rodolphe Adada, and other senior offi cials with the mission visited Muhajeriya on Sunday to assess the latest develop m ents and receive a briefing from local UNAMID commanders.
Another assessment team from UNAMID Sector South also travelled to Muhajeriya ea rlier.
The delegation paid a visit to the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Holland clinic , which is being operated by the local staff who indicated that there had been o u tbreaks of meningitis and diarrhoea.
The delegation also visited some sites affected by the air bombardment, includin g the MSF guesthouse.

09 february 2009 16:24:00

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