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Hostage takers say French aid worker ill in Darfur

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April 18, 2009 (NYALA) – Kidnappers of two foreign aid workers in southern Darfur said one of them is ill, the Agence France Press reported today.

The kidnappers are members of an unknown group called "Falcons for the Liberation of Africa", they say it is composed of former rebels and members of Arab tribes in Darfur.

The Canadian woman and a French woman from the French humanitarian organization Aide Médicale Internationale (AMI) were seized on the night of 4 to 5 April at the compound of the group in Ed El-Fursan in South Darfur.

French aid worker Claire Dubois "is ill. She has had diarrhoea for the past three days," one of the abductors said on Saturday. The Kidnapper who phoned AFP did not give further details.

"She has some fever," confirmed the Canadian aid worker Stephanie Jodoin who spoke with the reporter after the kidnapper. Jodoin added she had no access to medical care.

The kidnappers, who contacted international news agencies several times, demand that the French Government directly negotiate with them to fulfil their demand to re-try the French organization "Zoe’s Ark," a group whose employees were convicted but then pardoned for child abductions in Chad.

Tow year ago, Chadian authorities arrested six members of Zoe’s Ark, a French aid group, and accused them of trying illegally to take 103 Chadian and Darfuri children to France to be adopted there. Sudanese government criticized the pardon and said would pursue the aid workers in France.

This is the second kidnapping of foreign aid workers in Darfur in a month. Reports from the region say humanitarian aid workers feel unsafe and ponder about their presence in the troubled region, a situation that is seen as another blow for humanitarian efforts in the country.

Last month the Sudanese authorities ousted some 13 international aid group from the region, a decision that affected the humanitarian situation in Darfur where there are some 2.7 internally displaced persons.

(ST)

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