Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in Pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting

Read more

  • Air Algerie ‘lost contact’ with flight leaving Burkina Faso

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands march for Gaza peace in Paris

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • France charges Swiss bank UBS with tax fraud

    Read more

  • Israel faces heightened diplomatic pressure as Gaza violence rages

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

  • Netherlands holds day of mourning for victims of flight MH17

    Read more

  • Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down over rebel-held territory

    Read more

  • Ryanair ordered to pay back €9.6m in illegal state aid to France

    Read more

Africa

Two female foreign aid workers kidnapped in Darfur

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-04

Armed men have seized two female aid workers, one Irish and one Ugandan, in Sudan’s Darfur region, their employer said. It is the third kidnapping of foreign aid staff in the territory in four months.

REUTERS - Armed men seized two female aid workers, one Irish and one Ugandan, in Sudan’s Darfur region on Friday, their employer said, the third kidnapping of foreign aid staff in the territory in four months.


The six men took the women, both working for the Irish aid group GOAL, from their compound in the north Darfur town of Kutum in the evening, the aid group told Reuters. A Sudanese guard was also taken but later released, it added.


The recent surge of kidnappings has shocked humanitarian groups in Darfur, where abductions of foreign workers were almost unheard of before this year.


Aid organisations say they have faced growing antagonism in Darfur since the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan’s president in March to face charges of orchestrating crimes against humanity in the region.


GOAL chief executive John O’Shea named the kidnapped women as Hilda Kawuki, 42, from Uganda, and Sharon Commins, 32, from Dublin.


“We don’t know who took them. There are so many splinter groups in the area you’d only be guessing,” O’Shea told Reuters. “The local police force are in charge of trying to track them down. We have never had a kidnapping before. We are just hoping and praying that we can get them back.”


The tactics used by the men, targeting a foreign aid compound after dark, kidnapping a guard and then releasing him, were similar to those used in earlier abductions in Darfur, said a U.N. source, speaking on condition of anonymity.


A Canadian and a French woman from France-based Aide Medicale Internationale were kidnapped at gunpoint in Ed el Fursan in South Darfur in early April, but were later released unharmed.


The kidnappers, who called themselves the Freedom Eagles of Africa, had been demanding that Paris retry members of Zoe’s Ark, a French humanitarian group, convicted but later pardoned over the abduction of children from Chad.


Three foreign workers for Medecins Sans Frontieres, kidnapped in March in in Saraf Omra in north Darfur, were taken by a group called the Eagles of Bashir protesting at the International Criminal Court’s warrant against Sudan’s president Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Those workers were also released.


Sudan expelled 13 foreign aid groups in March, accusing them of helping the global court BUILD up its case against the president.


Before the expulsions, U.N. agencies and aid groups were running the world’s largest humanitarian operation in Darfur, the scene of more than six years of conflict.


Fighting surged when mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against Sudan’s government in 2003, accusing it of neglecting the region. Khartoum mobilised troops and mostly Arab militias to crush the rebellion.


Estimates of the resulting death toll range from 10,000 according to Khartoum to 300,000 according to tUnited Nations humanitarian chief John Holmes.


GOAL’s country director in Sudan Flora Hillis said the Kutum team had been providing health services, nutrition, water and sanitation to around 150,000 people in the area.
 

Date created : 2009-07-03

COMMENT(S)