KHARTOUM, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- Four peacekeepers were killed and eight others injured by gunmen in an ambush in Sudan's Darfur region, the United Nations-African Union Peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said Wednesday in a statement.
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a UNAMID patrol late Tuesday about 2 km away from their base in El Geneina town, the capital of West Darfur State, according to the statement, a copy of which was obtained by Xinhua.
Four members of the Nigerian battalion were killed and eight others were injured.
The reason behind the ambush is unknown, it said.
UNAMID Force Commander Lieutenant General Patrick Nyamvumba has expressed regrets and condemnation for the attack. The statement quoted the officer as saying that a number of peacekeepers who came to help the people of Darfur have been killed due to such " unjustified assaults."
UNAMID took over the peacekeeping mission in Darfur from the African Union Mission in Sudan on Dec. 31, 2007. The mission was planned to deploy 26,000 members of military and police to protect the civilians in the region, who have been suffering from a civil war since 2003.
The UNAMID peacekeepers have been attacked repeatedly by unidentified groups in the restive region, which already resulted in the deaths of 38 soldiers since the deployment of the mission in early 2008.
UNAMID chief Ibrahim Gambari has instructed the peacekeepers to respond vigorously to the attackers in self-defense and according to the rules of engagement.