- A group of armed men have abducted five employees working for medical charity organisation, the Belgian branch of Medicins sans Frontieres (MSF) in Sudan’s war torn Darfur region last night, MSF official has confirmed. Two Sudanese staff who were also taken, have since been released.
The kidnapping comes just a week after the International Criminal Court indicted the Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
The Belgian Foreign ministry said a French, a Canadian and an Italian were among those kidnapped, saying no Belgian was taken hostage during the incidence.
The official said the aid workers were taken at gunpoint from the MSF Belgium office at Saraf Umra, about 230 kilometers west of the North Darfur capital El Fasher last night.
MSF said it had no further information and would not make any further comments in order to safeguard the security of its staff.
Last night’s kidnapping has raised questions on the issue of security of aid workers currently operating in Sudan, after President Al Bashir shut down more than 13 aid orgnisations working in Darfur.
The Sudanese government had accused the aid groups of cooperating with the ICC, which accuses President Al Bashir of orchestrating a campaign of murder, torture, rape, forcible displacement and pillage in Darfur.
Some analysts had said the ICC warrant could spark more violence in Darfur, where peacekeepers and civilians have been caught in the middle of the conflict. But the international court went ahead to issue the warrant.
The United Nations said about 300,000 people have died in Darfur since 2003 when Darfuris took up arms against the government, accusing of neglect by the Arab-dominated Khartoum government. More than 2.7 million have been displaced.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.