The kidnappers of three foreign aid workers in Sudan’s Darfur region have demanded a ransom, say officials.

The Medecins Sans Frontieres staff were abducted on Wednesday along with two local staff who were later released.

The kidnappings come after Sudan ordered the expulsion of 13 aid groups, including the French and Dutch chapters of MSF, earlier this month.

They were told to leave after President Omar al-Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

He is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

The abducted staff were working for MSF’s Belgian branch.

Local media quoted North Darfur governor Osman Kebir as saying he had spoken to the kidnappers and the aid workers by telephone.

“Negotiations with the abductors are progressing well and could result in the release of the victims soon,” the Sudanese Media Centre quoted Mr Kebir as saying.

“The kidnappers demanded a financial ransom and have promised that they are not interested in violence,” he said.

Sudan’s government has condemned the kidnapping as “unacceptable” and an “act of lawlessness”.

MSF says it is now withdrawing all its sections’ medical teams from Darfur, leaving only a skeleton team to follow the case of those abducted.

“MSF is extremely worried both for our abducted colleagues and for the populations that MSF teams had been providing medical aid to,” according to a statement from the medical charity.


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