The attack on a patrol of international peacekeepers in the Darfur region is another painful reminder that despite recent hopeful steps, peace remains elusive in Sudan.
Five Rwandan soldiers and police officers from Ghana and Uganda were killed, and twenty-two others in the United Nations-African Union force were wounded in an ambush conducted by an unidentified rebel militia group. It was the deadliest attack on the international forces sent to protect displaced civilians in Darfur since September, when ten peacekeepers were killed.
Sadly, the action came on the third anniversary of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement, aimed at ending the civil war between the nation’s northern and southern provinces, and inaugurating a process for the parties to share power and the nation’s natural resources. And it all but overshadowed a positive development in this process, the national assembly passing a national election law that will pave the way toward credible and peaceful elections next year. When seen with the political and economic improvements in Southern Sudan, progress is being made.
To continue moving forward, all parties must abide by the ceasefire agreement, allow continued access by humanitarian aid groups to those in need, and continue to work toward free and fair elections in 2009. The United States stands ready to help and remains committed to the pursuit of a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Sudan.