SUDAN’S GOVT. IS TALKING TO KIDNAPPED AID WORKERS


Sudan’s government says it knows where three missing international aid workers are, a report says.

A senior official told Reuters news agency discussions were taking place over the terms of their release.canadian-nurse

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

The snatchings follow Sudan’s expulsion of 13 aid groups last week, after President Omar al-Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court.

A group of church leaders in Sudan has criticised the ICC’s move.

In a joint statement, the 13 church leaders said the court case would have a negative effect on the country and urged the government to find quick alternatives for the expelled aid missions.

The missing humanitarian staff are a Canadian nurse, an Italian doctor and a French co-ordinator.

Catholic missionary news agency MISNA has named them as Laura Archer, Mauro D’Ascanio and Raphael Meonier.

They are working for MSF’s Belgian branch, which was not among those aid agencies kicked out by the government. Mutrif Siddig, undersecretary at the foreign ministry, told Reuters news agency: “We know where they are. We have established a link with them and we are discussing their terms.”

The kidnappers’ identities were not immediately clear but North Darfur’s governor said on Thursday they were bandits looking for a cash ransom.

The aid workers were taken at gunpoint from their office at Saraf Umra, some 230km (143 miles) west of the North Darfur capital El Fasher.

Two Sudanese workers also kidnapped were later released.

On Thursday, MSF – whose Dutch and French chapters were among the 13 groups ordered out of Darfur – moved its remaining staff to the capital, Khartoum.

Although banditry is common in parts of the region, this is thought to be the first kidnapping of Western aid workers since two Britons were briefly detained by Darfur rebels in 2005.

SOURCED FROM BBC

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