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Darfur: Kidnappers release UNHCR staff

December 20 - 2016 EL GENEINA
UNHCR workers (file photo)
UNHCR workers (file photo)

Three UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) staff members who were kidnapped by gunmen on 27 November, have been set free in West Darfur.

The Governor of West Darfur addressed a news conference on Monday, announcing that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) staff members Sarun Pradhan, and Ramesh Karki from Nepal, and their Sudanese driver Musa Omer Musa Mohamed “have returned safely to El Geneina on 17 December. The three men were abducted by gunmen in a vehicle from central El Geneina on the night of Sunday 27 November.

”The state security authorities were able to recover the three kidnapped staffers working for the UNHCR after dialogue with the kidnappers,” Governor Fadlul Mola El Haja said. He did not release any details about the negotiation, whether any ransom was paid, nor any information about the fate of the kidnappers.

El Haja said that the employees have been admitted to a hospital which will assess their health situation.

In a statement today the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi said he is very pleased by the safe release. “Special thanks in particular go to the Sudanese Government and its personnel, who worked to ensure this outcome. We also wish to thank the members of the UN’s hostage management team and others who worked tirelessly on this case.

“UNHCR staff work in some of the most difficult circumstances in the world, helping people in great need, and often facing being far away from their families for lengthy periods at a time. Like other humanitarian workers, they should not have to endure the peril of abductions, violence and threats to their lives.”

Also the AU-UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur (Unamid) released a statement today, expressing gratitude to the Sudanese government 'and specifically to the Wali of West Darfur and the National Intelligence and Security Services for their excellent work which led to the safe release of the humanitarian workers.'

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