Call for international pressure on Sudan to release abducted Swiss aid worker
The head of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), Minni Arko Minawi, has called for international pressure on the government to ensure the release of Swiss humanitarian worker, Margaret Schenkel, who was abducted from her home in in the North Darfur capital of El Fasher a month ago.
He said in a statement that the abduction of humanitarian workers is a crime against humanity and called on the international community to exert maximum pressure on the Sudanese government to shoulder its responsibilities and move quickly to secure the release of the abducted woman.
Schenkel, who is in her 60s, has been living and working as a volunteer relief worker in Darfur for about 20 years during which she has rendered humanitarian service to the war victims and other poor people of the region, especially assisting malnourished children and their vulnerable families.
A group of gunmen stormed her home on the evening of October 7, her neighbours in El Daraja El Oula district in El Fasher told Radio Dabanga. They forced her to get into a Land Cruiser at gunpoint and took her to an unknown destination.
Minawi praised Schenkel’s humanitarian work: “Her kidnappers, who decided to deprive the vulnerable of the services she has been offering them free of charge, are the enemies of the people of Darfur.”
Schenkel is the third humanitarian aid worker kidnapped in Darfur in the past two years. In a press statement, following Scheckel’s abduction, the Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre said: “Abduction of relief workers in Darfur and the threats to their liberty and safety and personal integrity have been a regular practice in armed conflict-affected areas of Sudan in recent years. […] All the humanitarian abductees have been released unharmed after intervention of the government of Sudan.”
The Swiss government has also called for her release: “Local representation is in contact with Sudanese authorities. Efforts to clarify the situation are in progress. Switzerland is calling for a rapid and unconditional release of the abducted person.”
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