Sudan: Gov’t doing its best to free kidnapped aid workers

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A Canadian and a French national, serving humanity in Darfur, under the Aide Medicale Internationale (AMI) agency have been kidnapped by Islamic Gunmen, at Ed el-Fursan in southern Darfur, reports have claimed. Two Sudanese AMI workers were also kidnapped along with them.

However, the two Sudanese have been released but the French and the Canadian have been held captive, as the kidnappers are demanding an undisclosed ransom for their release. This is the second kidnapping of Western humanitarian workers in Darfur in less than a month.

In reaction to the alleged ransom demanded by the kidnappers, Sudanese and Italian officials insist that no ransom was paid to secure the release of a French administrator, a Canadian nurse and an Italian doctor who were kidnapped on the 9th of March, 2009 and released three days later.

With that information, the AMI agency would be hoping that their workers will be released safe and sound in like manner.

Aide Medicale Internationale has been operating in Darfur since 2004 and they have shown sincere commitment to assist the needy Sudanese population, but according to sources close to the agency, the kidnapping incidence has affected morale and enthusiasm amongst the foreign staffs.

The government of Canada has said it is seeking information on the incident and the Canadian foreign affairs department said it was ready to provide consular aid. Also, French officials say they are in contact with both the AMI and local Sudanese authorities. They have also set up a crisis response cell to deal with the kidnapping through their foreign ministry.

Ali Yussif, senior Sudanese foreign ministry official said the government under president Omar al-Bashir was doing its best to free the AMI staff. Sudan expelled 13 international aid agencies after an international warrant was issued against its president, Mr. Omar al-Bashir, last month for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

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