Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: Liberia shuts most border points

Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Israel ramps up Gaza bombardment

    Read more

  • EU broadens sanctions on Russia over Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

  • France evacuates its nationals from Libya

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

  • Karzai’s cousin killed in Afghan suicide attack

    Read more

  • Libya oil tanker fire blazes out of control

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

Africa

Officials claims kidnapped aid workers in Darfur in 'good shape'

Latest update : 2009-04-06

The two French and Canadian women working for the Aide Medicale Internationale, kidnapped in the Darfur region of Sudan, are said to be in "good shape", according to Sudanese officials. The Media Centre reported an unconfirmed ransom demand.

AFP - Sudanese authorities are working to free two French and Canadian aid workers who are "in good shape" after being kidnapped at the weekend in increasingly dangerous Darfur, an official said on Monday.
   
"They are in good shape," foreign ministry official Ali Yussef told AFP. "We are making every effort to free them in a peaceful way."
   
The two international female staff from Aide Medicale Internationale (AMI) were abducted at Ed el-Fursan in southern Darfur on Saturday night, said the French group, which has been targeted twice so far this year.
   
Two Sudanese AMI staff were also kidnapped and later released, a local official said.
   
The Sudanese Media Centre, which is close to the country's intelligence services, has said the kidnappers were demanding a ransom, but this was not possible to confirm.
   
The so far unidentified women were snatched on Saturday night from AMI offices south of South Darfur's capital Nyala, and around 100 kilometres (65 miles) from the border with Chad, a local official said, requesting anonymity.
   
AMI said it "strongly deplores this kidnapping of members of its team who work daily to improve the health of the local population."
   
The group, which has been providing medical relief in Ed el-Fursan since 2004, was spared from Khartoum's decision last month to expel several non-governmental aid organisations from Darfur.
   
"We were continuing our programme, we weren't targeted," said Frederic Mar, a spokesman for AMI.
   
The French authorities were alerted and the foreign ministry in Paris set up a crisis response cell to deal with the kidnapping, saying it was acting because the incident involved a French organisation.
   
Canada's foreign affairs department said it was seeking information about the kidnapping.
   
Sudan expelled 13 aid agencies after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant on March 4 for President Omar al-Beshir for alleged war crimes including genocide in Darfur.
   
Two Sudanese workers for AMI were shot dead when their bus was attacked by men on horseback in February in southern Darfur. Four others were wounded in that attack.
   
On March 23, a Sudanese man working for a Canadian aid group was shot dead at his home in Darfur, reportedly because his attackers wanted his satellite telephone.
   
Four workers with Doctors Without Borders (MSF), three of them foreigners, were kidnapped at gunpoint from their Darfur home on March 11.
   
They were all released four days later, with no signs of violence or a ransom being paid, Sudanese and MSF officials said.
   
That abduction was the first of international aid workers since civil war erupted in Darfur in 2003, and took place just 10 days after the ICC issued the arrest warrant for Beshir.
   
"This is a very worrying new phenomenon," a source familiar with the security situation in Darfur told AFP, requesting anonymity. "This is a new trend towards humanitarian actors in Darfur."
   
The Darfur conflict erupted in February 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government and its militia allies.
   
Over the past six years, the rebels have fractured into multiple movements and the war has widened into overlapping tribal conflicts, making the region increasingly dangerous for humanitarian relief efforts.
   
The United Nations says up to 300,000 people have died from the combined effects of war, famine and disease and about 2.7 million have fled their homes. Sudan puts the death toll at 10,000.

Date created : 2009-04-06

COMMENT(S)