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Two Peacekeepers Missing in Darfur After Ambush

map of Darfur

map of Darfur

Two international peacekeepers are missing in Sudan's Darfur region after gunmen ambushed their patrol.

The joint United Nations - African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur said Saturday that unidentified gunmen surprised the patrol Friday and detained a group of peacekeepers overnight. It says most of the peacekeepers were released the next morning, but says two are still unaccounted for.

The joint mission says the attack took place in the central Jabel Marra area, as the peacekeepers were on their way to investigate reports of fighting in the region.

Rebels from the Sudan Liberation Army say a recent government offensive targeted one of their strongholds in the Jabel Marra region, leaving hundreds of civilians dead. Sudan's army denies involvement in fighting in the area.

The U.S. State Department said Tuesday it was extremely concerned about reports of Sudanese military operations in the region.

Last month, Sudan's government and Darfur's most powerful rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement, signed a cease-fire agreement. Rebels from the Sudan Liberation Army were not part of that deal.

Darfur rebels took up arms against the Sudanese government in 2003.

The United Nations says the conflict has killed some 300,000 people and displaced about 2.7 million. Sudan puts the death toll much lower, at 10,000.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.