News / Africa

UN Peacekeepers Kidnapped in Darfur

The United Nations says two police advisors working with the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur have been kidnapped.

The peacekeeping mission, known as UNAMID, issued a statement saying the incident occurred early Saturday in the South Darfur state capital, Nyla.

The statement said the two men were walking to a UNAMID transport dispatch point about 100 meters from their residence when they were approached by three individuals in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

The two advisors were seized at gun point and driven away from the scene.  The United Nations says it is investigating the incident.

The U.N. says the kidnapping is the latest in a series of attacks on UNAMID forces in recent weeks.  Last month, an ambush injured seven peacekeepers, and another ambush in June killed three and injured a fourth.

UNAMID has been in place since early 2008 and was formed to protect civilians and stop violence in Darfur.  The U.N. says the seven-year conflict there has killed as many as 300,000 people and displaced 2.7 million.  Sudan's government says around 10,000 people have died.

On Friday, U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes demanded the Sudanese government allow aid agencies into a camp for displaced persons in Darfur that has been closed off to aid workers for nearly two weeks.

Holmes says more than 80,000 displaced people living at Kalma camp have not been able to receive food and other relief supplies.  He said if access for aid workers is not quickly restored, the situation at the camp could deteriorate rapidly.

Sudanese authorities have prevented aid workers from entering the camp in South Darfur following violence there earlier this month that left at least six people dead.  

The government is demanding the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur hand over six camp leaders who sought refuge with the peacekeepers during the violence.

Peacekeepers and foreign aid workers have faced increased hostility in Darfur since last year, when the International Criminal Court indicted Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir for alleged war crimes.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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