Four Abducted UN-AU Blue Helmets Feleased in Darfur

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–26 April 2010 – Four peacekeepers serving with the joint African Union-United Nations Mission in the war-ravaged Sudanese region of Darfur (UNAMID) were released today after having spent more than two weeks in captivity.

The unarmed South African police advisers – two women and two men – were abducted at approximately 4 p.m. on 11 April after departing from their team site in Nyala, South Darfur state, on a seven-kilometre journey back to their private quarters.

After undergoing medical examinations, the four will be flown to their home country to be reunited with their families.

“We are grateful to have our colleagues back with us,” said Ibrahim Gambari, UNAMID Joint Special Representative, who expressed gratitude to the Sudanese Government and local authorities in South Darfur for their cooperation.

“I am proud of the courage and resilience displayed by our colleagues throughout these trying circumstances,” noted the Representative, who travelled to Nyala to meet with the released peacekeepers.

He expressed hope that “this is the last time that peacekeepers, both military, police and civilians, who are here to bring peace and stability to the people of Darfur, are subjected to such unacceptable ordeals.”

Yesterday, Mr. Gambari held talks with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who pledged to do everything possible to bring about safe return of the UNAMID personnel.

The mission, with nearly 22,000 uniformed personnel, was set up at the beginning of 2008 to help end a seven-year conflict between the Government and rebels that has killed at least 300,000 people and driven 2.7 million others from their homes.