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Kidnappers say they will release Darfur peacekeepers

April 16 - 2010 KHARTOUM

Jibril Bukhari Abbas, spokesman for a group of kidnappers in Darfur, said that four UNAMID peacekeepers had been kidnapped due to only a “misunderstanding”. Bukhari told Radio Dabanga that they had never asked for ransom or made other demands. There are negotiations going on with the kidnappers of four South African peacekeepers in Darfur. They are part of the joint UN-African Union mission. According to the spokesman of UNAMID, Nouredin Al Mezni, the peacekeepers are “in good health”. He confirmed to Radio Dabanga that there is now contact between the group and the negotiators.

The South African Department of Defense said it is expecting the release of the peacekeepers very soon. They say that there is contact and negotiations ongoing. The state press agency SUNA published that the ‘kidnapping’ was based on a misunderstanding within the group, the so-called the Movement for the Struggle of the People in Darfur.

UNAMID was happy to be able to speak to the hostages who may be in a location between Nyala and Kass. “We were able to talk to them this morning. They are in good health,” UNAMID spokesperson Noureddine Mezni said. “We are doing our outmost to secure their release. The Sudanese authorities know the identity of the kidnappers but they want to make sure their release takes place in the best possible conditions,” Mezni said. The peacekeepers’ last movement was reported at 16:00 (13:00 GMT) on April 11 as they left their team site just outside Nyala. Bukhari declined to tell Radio Dabanga when the detained soldiers will be released.


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