Jordanian UN officers abducted in Darfur freed

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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