Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

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

IN THE PAPERS

Netanyahu says Gaza operation will not end quickly

Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

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

    Read more

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

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

  • France evacuates its nationals from Libya

    Read more

  • Israeli strikes target symbols of Hamas power

    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

  • France offers asylum to Iraqi Christians

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

  • French mayor files complaint against US father who risked kids’ lives on Mont Blanc

    Read more

  • French footballer Griezmann headed to Atletico Madrid

    Read more

  • Luc Besson’s sci-fi thriller ‘Lucy’ tops US box office

    Read more

France

Two French hostages freed in Darfur

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-03-15

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (pictured) announced on Sunday that two French aid workers who were kidnapped in the Central African Republic last November had been freed in the Sudan.

AFP - Two French aid workers abducted in the Central African Republic and held for four months were on Sunday freed in Darfur, the Sudanese region gripped by civil war and a wave of kidnappings.
   
Olivier Denis and Olivier Frappe were working for a French charity, Triangle Generation Humanitaire, when they were kidnapped in November 2009 in the Central African Republic, across the border from the western region of Sudan.
   
They arrived late on Sunday in the Sudanese capital, where Denis spoke of how the pair had feared for their lives at the start of their ordeal.
   
"There were (threats) then the tone calmed down," a long-bearded Denis told journalists at a Khartoum military hospital. "Sometimes they (kidnappers) started again when they got impatient. Initially we feared for our lives."
   
"We were not mistreated but obviously lots of things go through one's mind," said Denis, adding that "there were two of us which is lucky."
   
In a statement issued in Paris, French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed "delight that they have been freed."
   
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said earlier: "I fully share the happiness of their families and loved ones, and the NGO, with whom the foreign ministry's crisis centre has been in permanent contact since their abduction."
   
Sarkozy also called for freedom for International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) worker Gauthier Lefevre, who was abducted in Darfur last October.
   
The French-British dual national was kidnapped in West Darfur near the border with Chad.
   
A shadowy armed group in Darfur called the Freedom Eagles of Africa said in November it abducted Denis and Frappe and Red Cross worker Laurent Maurice, as well as two other aid workers, a Frenchwoman and a Canadian, freed in April.
   
Maurice was released last month after 89 days in captivity.
   
A spokesman for the group, Abu Mohammed al-Rizeigi, told AFP at the time of November's kidnappings that it wanted France to "change policy in the region," although its motives remained vague.
   
Paris has difficult relations with the Khartoum government as it has taken in a top Darfur rebel leader -- Abdel Wahid Nur, who heads the hardline faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement.
   
France also has personnel across the border in both Chad and the Central African Republic as part of a United Nations peacekeeping force.
   
Darfur has been stricken by a war that broke out in 2003 between rebels and militia backed by the Sudanese government. Armed groups have splintered into two dozen factions, some engaging in banditry with no clear political aims.
   
The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir in March last year for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur.
   
There has since been a spate of kidnappings of foreign aid workers in the region.
   
The Sudanese authorities vowed on Sunday to bring to justice those behind the abduction of the latest two French nationals to be freed.
   
"We'll bring them to justice," Sudan's state minister for humanitarian affairs, Abdel Baqi Gilani, told AFP. "We want to eradicate this culture (of kidnapping) which is not ours."
   
Lefevre is now the sole foreigner in the hands of kidnappers in Sudan.
   
"We are doing everything we can to free the ICRC employee," Gilani said. "We hope he will be released soon."
   
The abductions forced humanitarian agencies to change the way they operate in Darfur by limiting the movement of expatriate aid in the vast region's remote areas.
   
The Darfur conflict has claimed about 300,000 lives and displaced 2.7 million people, according to UN figures, since February 2003. Khartoum puts the death toll at 10,000.
   
On February 23, Khartoum and the Justice and Equality Movement rebel group signed a ceasefire and a framework agreement for Darfur peace, but several other important rebel factions have rejected the deal.

Date created : 2010-03-14

  • CHAD - SUDAN

    Kidnappers threaten to kill French aid workers, demand talks with Paris

    Read more

COMMENT(S)