Secretary-General Ban Urges Sudanese President to Intervene to Secure Release of Abducted Staff

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–7 December 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to become directly involved in securing the release of two staff members of the joint African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur who have been held hostage now for 100 days, stressing that the situation is critical given that one of them is gravely ill.

The two staffers – one man and one woman – were abducted at gunpoint in West Darfur state on 29 August.

“The Government has been attempting to secure their release but they have not as yet been released,” UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters in New York. “The President assured the Secretary-General that everything possible was being done.”

Mr. Ban also urged that the perpetrators of the two weekend attacks on UNAMID peacekeepers in North Darfur that killed five Rwandan peacekeepers be brought to justice.

The five blue helmets from Rwanda were killed in separate incidents on Friday and Saturday, bringing the total number of peacekeepers who have lost their lives in Darfur since UNAMID deployed at the start of 2008 to 22.

“Mr. al-Bashir indicated he had issued instructions to his security agencies that the perpetrators be apprehended as soon as possible,” Mr. Nesirky stated.

The Security Council established UNAMID in 2007 to try to quell the violence in Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million others displaced as a result of conflict pitting rebels against Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen since 2003.