Aid nurse killed in Darfur crossfire: humanitarians

AFP , Tuesday 11 Jun 2013

UN worker was killed during a gun battle inside refugees camp in Darfur region, the second death among humanitarian workers in less than a year

A Sudanese nurse working for an international aid agency in Sudan's troubled Darfur region has been shot dead during a gun battle inside a camp for displaced people, humanitarian workers said on Tuesday.

It is the first known death of an aid worker in Sudan since a Sudanese driver for the United Nations World Food Programme was killed during an attack in war-torn South Kordofan state last August.

Ali al-Zatari, the United Nations chief in Sudan, said the killing occurred on Sunday in North Camp, in Central Darfur's Nertiti town.

He strongly condemned the "senseless crime".

"The killing of this aid worker, and the injury of several other civilians, occurred because an exchange of fire took place in a camp for people displaced by fighting in Darfur. The civilian and humanitarian nature of these camps must be respected."

The UN said only that the victim was a Sudanese, who himself had been uprooted during Darfur's decade-long uprising which has left 1.4 million people living in camps inside the region.

He was killed when a stray bullet went through the wall of his home in the camp, a UN source said, adding it is unclear who shot him.

The incident began after an attempted ambush robbery of an army patrol.

"Not long following this ambush, shooting broke out in the camp, and the shooting was quite indiscriminate," the UN source said.

Another humanitarian source identified the victim as a nurse working for an international aid agency.

The source said rebels are suspected of being behind the ambush against the army but he sees both sides as blameworthy.

"Big fight breaks out between the two groups and people get killed and injured, and houses and properties destroyed," he said, asking for anonymity.

Rebels should not hide in the camps and the army should "more carefully" conduct operations there, when really needed, said the source.

The UN's humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos said during a visit to Sudan in late May that an estimated 300,000 people have fled fighting in Darfur this year.

That is more than in the previous two years combined, she said.

The far-west region's ethnic minorities rebelled against the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime in 2003.

The insurgency was initially met by government-backed Janjaweed militia.

While the worst of the violence has long passed, instability has been complicated by inter-Arab fighting, kidnappings, carjackings and other crimes, many suspected to be the work of government-linked militia.

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