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International staff Red Cross Darfur kidnapped

October 23 - 2009 EL GENEINA

(Updated) – A French staff worker of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in  El Geneina in West Darfur was kidnapped from his car this afternoon. He was returninmg to his compound after a fieldtrip to supervise waterprojects. Radio Dabanga learnt that he was seized 40 kilometres from Geneina town in his ICRC marked car by around ten gun men. The men took the Red Cross worker out of the Red Cross car, leaving other ICRC staff behind allowing them to continue their way, Tamara Al-Rifai, spokesperson of the ICRC in Khartoum told Radio Dabanga. A local reporter of Radio Dabanga noticed that the kidnappers were heading for the nearby border with Chad. This was confirmed by a government official in El Geneina. The new kidnap case happened few days after the release of two aid workers of GOAL after 106 of captivity. The kidnapping of two UNAMID-staff workers in Zalingei is still continuing. It is the sixth kidnapping of international aid-workers in Sudan. Most of the hostages were freed after some weeks. All identified groups were allied with the government, some of them became angry for being abandoned of government support. The kidnappings started after president Omar al Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. The government started expelling international NGOs and simultaneously, a series of kidnappings happened. The ICRC has released the name of the staffworker, Gauthier Lefevre. he was head of the ICRC office in El Geneina. The ICRC says it ihas no indication of who the abductors might be or of their motives. It is in contact with the authorities and other parties with the aim of resolving the situation as swiftly as possible. The family of the French worker was informed of the incident immediately. The ICRC is calling for the rapid and unconditional release of its kidnapped staff member.

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