Sarkozy condemns Sudan in soldier death
( AP ) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy condemned Sudan on Friday, saying it used "disproportionate force" against a French peacekeeper who was fatally shot by Sudanese troops this week.
The peacekeeper, Sgt. Gilles Polin, went missing Monday after he and another member of France's special forces were shot at when they strayed across the Sudanese border from Chad. The second soldier escaped with light injuries.
In a statement, Sarkozy spokesman David Martinon said the French leader "condemned with the utmost firmness the use of deliberate and disproportionate force against soldiers ... who were fulfilling their mission of humanitarian protection."
The two peacekeepers were part of a European peacekeeping force deployed in Chad and the neighboring Central African Republic to protect uprooted people and aid workers on the borders of Sudan's war-torn Darfur province.
The statement said Sarkozy "has requested Sudanese authorities take all necessary measures so that this does not happen again."
Polin's remains were formally identified Friday and flown to Paris from the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
In a statement, French Defense Minister Herve Morin said the two soldiers had stopped at a Sudanese checkpoint after inadvertently crossing the border when they were fired on.
"At no point did the two French soldiers show hostility or aggressiveness," Morin said.
Sudan has been hostile to the peacekeeping mission being deployed near Darfur. The mission now includes about 700 soldiers, mostly French, Irish and Swedes, and is planned to increase to 3,800 from at least 14 countries.
The mission has been delayed by logistical problems and recent fighting in Chad.