AU says no threat of troop withdrawal from Darfur

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ADDIS ABABA, Oct 2 (Reuters) The African Union today denied that troop contributing nations had threatened to pull their forces from a mission to Darfur after a rebel attack on an AU peacekeeping base.

The AU says 10 soldiers were killed and 10 others wounded after the weekend raid - the worst assault on AU forces since 2004 when the 7,000-strong mission was deployed to western Sudan.

AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Said Djinnit said a joint United Nations-AU team would begin an inquiry into the attack, adding that the AU agreed its mandate in Darfur should be reviewed to allow its forces to respond if they are attacked.

''Member states are deeply angered about the killing and wounding of AMIS troops in Darfur. We will not rest until they (the perpetrators) are found out and brought to swift justice,'' Djinnit told reporters.

''The ambassadors who represented troop contributing countries in the Council meeting, have expressed their commitment and determination to remain in Darfur until peace was restored,'' he added.

Nigerian Ambassador to the AU and Ethiopia Obioma Opraha said Nigerian soldiers would remain in Darfur.

''Nigeria is not a coward country. We will not runaway when such things happens. Nigeria is determined to remain in Darfur,'' he said.

''We are committed to do our best to bring peace to Darfur.'' James Klilangawe, Malawi envoy to the AU, who chaired the Peace and Security Council meeting on Tuesday said, the AU agreed that defence chiefs of troop contributing countries would meet either in Addis Ababa or Sudan to discuss the mission.

''They will discuss what mistakes were made and what areas would be improved,'' he said.

REUTERS ARB BD1938

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