The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

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August 31, 2009

August 31, 2009 - The Daily Star - Sudan Darfur abduct 2 UNAMID workers

Gunmen abduct two UNAMID workers in Sudan's Darfur

KHARTOUM, Sudan: Armed men seized two foreign civilians working for Darfur’s peacekeeping force on Saturday, the fourth abduction in the remote Sudanese region since March. “They were abducted by armed men from their residence in Zalingei. The incident took place in the early hours of this morning,” UNAMID spokesman Noureddine Mezni told Reuters.

It was the first time international staff from the joint United Nations/African Union force had been abducted, he said.

The kidnappers made contact with the peacekeepers soon after the abduction. “They told us of their willingness to talk to UNAMID,” Mezni said, without giving details of their demands.

Sudan’s State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs Abdel-Baqi al-Jailani told Reuters the kidnap victims were a Nigerian man and a Tanzanian woman, saying that the kidnappers were bandits.

“They have asked for a ransom. They never claimed to be some sort of rebels,” Jailani said.

The kidnapping, in Zalingei in the western part of Darfur, happened two days after the departing commander of the force, Martin Luther Agwai, told reporters that Darfur suffered from banditry but was no longer in a state of war.

Aid workers say they have experienced increased hostility in the region since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on war crimes charges. Khartoum ordered out 13 foreign groups and shut down three local ones after the ICC issued its warrant in March, accusing them of passing information to the court, which they deny.

Two women from Irish charity GOAL remain in captivity after being snatched in early July. Another aid worker is missing after a raid just over Darfur’s border in neighboring Chad this month.

Zalingei, which is around 100 kilometers from the Chadian border, is the birthplace of some of Darfur’s best-known rebels, including Sudan Liberation Army founder Abdel-Wahed Mohammad Ahmad al-Nur, and is a hotbed of anti-government sentiment.

Nur, who is now based in Paris, denied that any of his rebel fighters were responsible for the kidnap, and pointed the finger at government-allied militias.

“This is not our behavior. We are a responsible movement. We fight against terrorists and this kidnapping is a terrorist act,” he said.

“This is the continuation of the government’s campaign to terrorize people on the ground. They want to complicate the mission of anyone helping the people of Darfur.” Jailani denied government-backed militias were involved.

Nur said the abduction showed the weakness of UNAMID’s mandate.

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