Peacekeeper freed after 54 days` capture in Sudan`s Darfur

A peacekeeper in Sudan`s Darfur region has been freed safely after almost two months in captivity, the African Union-UN mission (UNAMID) there said Thursday.

AFP| Last Updated: May 02, 2014, 00:13 AM IST

Washington: A peacekeeper in Sudan`s Darfur region has been freed safely after almost two months in captivity, the African Union-UN mission (UNAMID) there said Thursday.

The abduction of Nigerian Sergeant Awesu Soleiman had not been previously announced.

The man was released in the South Darfur capital Nyala, a statement said, without saying who had seized him.

"Sgt Awesu was abducted while driving a UNAMID water truck from Dereige IDP Camp to UNAMID Super Camp in Nyala Town" on March 9 at about 4:50 pm, it said.

The incident occurred during what UNAMID chief Mohamed Ibn Chambas has called an "alarming escalation of violence" in Darfur this year.

He said activities of the government`s Rapid Support Forces were of "particular concern" but rebel offensives, criminal activity and inter-communal fighting also contributed.

There were 16 fatal attacks against UNAMID last year, resulting in "significant loss of vehicles, weapons and ammunition," a report by UN chief Ban Ki-moon says.

A separate UN panel of experts said "Janjaweed groups," or ethnic Arab militias, almost certainly played a leading role in two of the major fatal attacks, with robbery the likely motive.

But Sudan`s government has said it is impossible that militia close to the regime have attacked peacekeepers.

Chambas thanked Sudan`s government, the governor of South Darfur and the Nigerian government for their help in securing the peacekeeper`s freedom.
In a separate case, UNAMID announced on March 18 that a person working at the mission "went missing" on March 11 in the North Darfur state capital El Fasher.
There have been no further details.