Two foreign aid workers kidnapped by gunmen in Sudan’s Darfur region about three weeks ago have been freed. French national Claire Dubois and Canadian Stephanie Jodoin were working for the French aid agency, Aide Medicale Internationale. They were seized on 4 April from their office near the south Darfur state capital Nyala.

darfur-aidOne of the kidnappers told Reuters news agency they released the hostages because their health was deteriorating. “The Sudanese government confirms their release. They are in good health, in good shape,” Ali Yussef, a protocol official at Sudan’s foreign ministry, told AFP news agency.

The kidnappers, calling themselves Freedom Eagles of Africa, had earlier demanded the retrial of six French citizens, pardoned a year ago for trying to abduct children from neighbouring Chad. The six, who worked for Paris-based charity, Zoe’s Ark, had initially been sentenced to eight years in prison in Chad, but were later moved to France.

It was the second kidnapping of Western humanitarian workers in Darfur since Sudan expelled 13 foreign aid groups in March this year after a war crimes arrest warrant was issued for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Four staff with Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) were kidnapped at gunpoint from their Darfur home on 11 March. They were freed four days later.



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