This bad news out of Darfur puts an exclamation point on the danger of attempting to keep a non-existent peace in increasingly hostile territory.

A peacekeeper serving with the joint African Union-United Nations force in Darfur (UNAMID) was killed today while on patrol in the strife-torn region, just one week after seven blue helmets with the mission were slain. The peacekeeper was killed in Forobaranga in West Darfur state, according to preliminary information received by UNAMID, the mission said in a press statement.

The UN has insinuated that the attack last week was the responsibility of the Sudanese government, and at least one Security Council member is pushing a resolution officially condemning the attack (albeit not explicitly identifying Khartoum as the culprit). While no official word has come out of Forobaranga, I can’t help but fear that this attack may be tied to the government’s anger that its president has been recommended for indictment by the ICC. At any rate, the mission courageously keeps plugging on (though non-essential staff are being evacuated as a precaution):

UNAMID said its troops have been continuing to conduct patrols in the region on Sudan’s western flank, despite the violence and instability, with 16 patrols conducted today. Humanitarian activities are also ongoing and a Chinese engineering company is due to join the mission tomorrow.

Whether the Sudanese government, militias, rebels, or armed bandits were responsible for this latest killing is immaterial. Whatever the reason, attacking those whose job is to protect displaced innocents is reprehensible, and UNAMID peacekeepers should not be treated as sitting ducks in a reactionary game of global politics.

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