Home | News    Tuesday 19 April 2011

Latvia distances itself from Darfur ransom to free its pilots

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April 18, 2011 (LONDON) – Latvia, today, a distanced its self from the ransom paid by the Sudanese government to free the Latvian helicopter crew that were kidnapped in the troubled region of Darfur last year.

The crew, who were working for the World Food Program United Nations Humanitarian Air Service spent a month in captivity. The Latvian government dispatched some officials to Khartoum to follow the case.

“With regard to the information in the media reports, the Latvian Foreign Ministry would like to communicate that Latvia, following a Government decision, has not paid any ransom, for the abducted Latvian pilots,” the Latvian foreign ministry ministry said in a press release.

With regards to claims that the Sudanese government had paid a ransom of more than US$150,000, the Latvian Foreign Ministry said also that it could not comment.

The Latvian authorities were reacting to a report published today by the Sudan Tribune on the outcome of investigations carried out by a Sudanese special criminal court in Nyala, South Darfur, trying four people involved in the abduction of the pilots.

Sudanese security service, which usually deals with such cases, denied in the past having paid any ransom to the kidnappers, who are often former members of the government militias. The latter blame Khartoum for not honouring promises received to fight the rebels.

The crew, were abducted in Nyala on 5 November 5, 2010, were released on 8 December, 2010 and accompanied by representatives from the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

(ST)

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