3 foreign aid workers in Darfur reported freed

Associated Press

Three foreign staff members of Doctors Without Borders were freed two days after they were abducted in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region, the Italian Foreign Ministry said Friday.

An official of the aid organization’s Belgian branch, for which the three work, Erwin Van’t Land, also said the group had been told by the kidnappers and by Sudanese authorities that the abductees had been released.

“But we have not been able to talk to them ourselves. We need our own independent confirmation,” he said.

A spokesman for the Sudanese Foreign Ministry, Ali Youssef, said he could provide no further details.


A Sudanese government official, who was closely following the case, said the three were heading to the governor’s house in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, and that no ransom had been paid for their release. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

The Italian Foreign Ministry also confirmed the release and said it did not have details on where the three were being held when they gained their freedom.

Armed men abducted the Canadian nurse, Italian doctor and French coordinator and two Sudanese guards Wednesday, a week after the Khartoum government ordered 13 foreign aid groups expelled.

The two guards were released earlier.

The expulsion order came in response to an international arrest warrant for the Sudanese president, Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, by the Netherlands-based International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 6-year-old counterinsurgency in Darfur.