- Darfur - hostages - NGOs - Omar al-Bashir - Sudan
AFP - Three foreign aid workers held hostage in war-torn Darfur after being kidnapped at gunpoint are free, Italy's foreign ministry said late Friday in a statement carried by ANSA news agency.
Earlier Friday, Medecins Sans Frontieres spokesman Koen Baetens had said the trio were in good health, adding that a Sudanese staffer was also being held with them -- contrary to previous information.
The Canadian nurse, an Italian doctor and a French administrator working with the Belgian branch of MSF were kidnapped at gunpoint on Wednesday in Saraf Umra in north Darfur.
Two Sudanese staffers captured with them were initially thought to have been released.
"There is a fourth who has been abducted. The information that two were freed is not correct," Baetens said. "One Sudanese national who was kidnapped was not released, so we are talking about four staff."
Sudanese authorities had already identified where the group were being held, blaming "bandits" for their kidnapping on Wednesday.
The kidnapping came a week after Sudan expelled the 13 foreign aid agencies after the International Criminal Court ordered President Omar al-Beshir's arrest for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.