Jordanian UN officers abducted in Darfur freed
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Last Updated: Tuesday, August 17, 2010, 19:28
  
Khartoum (Sudan): Two Jordanian officers from the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur (UNAMID) who were abducted at gunpoint have been freed, Jordanian and Sudanese officials said on Tuesday.

"First Lieutenant Ahmad Qeisi and First Lieutenant Nabil Kilani have been released," Jordanian Information Minister Ali Ayed said in a statement carried by the state-run Petra news agency in Amman.

"They are currently at the Jordanian mission in Darfur and in good health," Ayed said.

Qeisi and Kilani, police officers deployed with UNAMID, were seized on Saturday by armed men in Nyala, capital of South Darfur state.

"They were released following negotiations. But no ransom was paid," the governor of South Darfur state, Abdelhamid Mussa Kasha, told agency.

It was not clear, however, when the officers were set free.

Meanwhile Jordan's King Abdullah II ordered the dispatch of a military plane to Darfur to bring home the two freed officers, the palace in Amman said.

UNAMID said the officers were abducted on Saturday by three gunmen as they were walking towards a transport dispatch point.

A security source in Jordan later said the pair were in a UN car along with two other Jordanian officers when gunmen ambushed them, forcing the other two passengers out of the vehicle.

"The gunmen then commandeered the vehicle, speeding off to Jabal Marra, 100 kilometres away from the headquarters," the Jordanian source said yesterday.

The source said Jordan had contacted the officers.

"The kidnappers told us that they have no problem with the Jordanian officers and that what happened was because the abductors want the United Nations to meet their demands," he had said without elaborating.

No one has claimed responsibility for the abduction.

Part of Jabal Marra is seen as a stronghold of the Sudan Liberation Army of rebel leader Abdelwahid Mohammed Nur but rebel officials have denied any involvement in the abduction.

Saturday's abduction was the third since August 2009 to target UNAMID in the volatile region of Darfur.

Civil war has gripped Darfur since 2003, killing 300,000 people and displacing 2.7 million others, according to the United Nations. Khartoum says 10,000 have been killed in the conflict.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, August 17, 2010, 19:28


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