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Militia asking ransom for kidnapped UNAMID peacekeepers in Darfur

April 14 - 2010 NYALA

(By Radio Dabanga)

A new group calling itself the Movement for the Struggle of the People in Darfur claims to have kidnapped four South African UNAMID peacekeepers in South Darfur. They want a ransom of an amount equivalent to half a million US dollars (a billion sudanese pounds) and the release of their ‘detained leaders’. They have not mentioned names. A spokesman of the group, Ibrahim Dokki, contacted Radio Dabanga saying the group is led by Mohammed Abdullah Sharar. Radio Dabanga tried to verify the backgound of the group. It seems the group is part of the Irada Hura (SLM Free Will), a mixed group that signed a Declaration of Commitment after the Darfur Peace Agreemnent in Abuja. Their leader prof. Abdelrahman Musa died. The new leader, Ali Majok, was apparently appointed with support of the government and became a minister. But a faction within the group disagreed with his leadership. Adam Salih, another member of the faction, called for a meeting to contest the leadership. He formed in the meantime a new Movement for the Struggle of the People in Darfur. They signed another agreement with the government of South Darfur. The group is now complaining that the government does not implement the agreement. Even some of their leaders seem to have been detained by security forces somewhere in South Darfur. The group is heading with their hostages towards Kass area.

UNAMID could not confirm the information. The spokesman, Nouredine al Mezni, said that UNAMID is very worried about the kidnapped personnel and that UNAMID did not have any contact with the kidnappers. “We have sent the Police Commissioner of UNAMID to Nyala for leading the investigations. We have had a meeting with the representatives of the Sudanese government today”, he told Radio Dabanga today. The peacekeepers, two men and two women, were reportedly taken by a group of ten gunmen.

It is the second time UNAMID staff have been kidnapped. Last year two civilian staff members from the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) were abducted at gunpoint from their accommodation in Zalingei in West Darfur on 29 August. The pair, a Nigerian man and a Zimbabwean woman, had been detained for more than 100 days.

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