Ransom Demanded For Doctors Without Border Hostages

The kidnappers of three employees of Doctors Without Borders has demanded a ransom for their return. The hostages have been on the phone with authorities, confirming that they are alive. The kidnappers have stated they do not want to harm the aid workers.
News 24 reports that North Darfur governor Osman Kebir has spoken to both the kidnappers and the hostages by telephone.

“Negotiations with the abductors are progressing well and could result in the release of the victims soon”, Kebir said according to the reports.

According to Kebir the kidnappers are not interested in harming the aid workers.

One of those being held is Canadian nurse, Laura Archer. Ms. Archer is from Prince Edward Island. She now lives in Montreal.

The other hostages are Italian doctor Mauro D’Ascanio and French field coordinator Raphael Meunier.

This is the first abduction of Westerns in the region.

The Toronto Star reports:

“We can confirm that a group of armed men went to the location and ordered five persons to follow them. They were three international staff and two national staff,” said Kemal Saiki, communications director for UNAMID peacekeepers in Darfur. UNAMID said the kidnapping took place late yesterday.

The workers were taken from a clinic in Saraf Omra. The health clinic and dispensary serving tens of thousands of people and is run by MSF Belgium.

The Star quotes Susan Sandars, an MSF spokeswoman in Nairobi, Kenya.

“We have managed to have a contact with the staff themselves,” said McHarg. “They were given a phone to use (Wednesday) night… We did get confirmation that they were OK, they were in good health, that they were together and that they were being well-treated.”

Doctors Without Borders is still concerned for their safety, McHarg said.

“Our concern as well is for the families and what they’re going through, and of course what it will eventually mean for the populations and the people that we’ve been there to try and help,” she said.

The kidnapping is liable to change the policies of aid workers in the Darfur region. Already Sudan’s President Al-Bashir has ordered 13 aid groups out of his country last week because of an international warrant was issued for him. The president has been charged with war crimes that are the root of at least 200,000 people being killed in Darfur since 2003.

MSF Belgium was not among the aid groups that were expelled.

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