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ICRC Worker Kidnapped in Chad

ICRC Worker Kidnapped in Chad

ICRC Worker Kidnapped in Chad

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A French agronomist with the International Committee of the Red Cross was kidnapped late Monday in eastern Chad.

Agronomist Laurent Maurice was abducted by unidentified gunmen in the village of Kawa. He was part of a team evaluating the harvest in the region, near the Sudanese border.

The ICRC has temporarily suspended its activities in eastern Chad and is calling for the rapid and unconditional release of its worker.

Marco Succi is the group's spokesman in Chad.

"Our delegation is trying to get contact and information through the local authorities and the armed groups situated there," Succi said. "You know, where the incident occurred is in the northeastern part of Chad, not far from the Sudan border."

It is an unstable border with Sudanese rebels crossing into Chad, Chadian rebels crossing into Sudan, and the Chadian army occasionally crossing into Sudan in pursuit of the rebels.

Again, the ICRC's Marco Succi:

"We are one of the few organizations working there," Succi said. "And as you know, in our mandate we are compelled to have a dialogue with all of the arms carriers, including the armed opposition groups."

The ICRC's West Darfur delegation head, Gauthier Lefvre, was abducted three weeks ago. The organization says he is still being held by his captors.

More than 160,000 Chadians have been displaced by fighting along the border. There are also more than 300,000 refugees from Darfur living in United Nations camps in eastern Chad.