August 27, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Unidentified armed men on Tuesday abducted two Sudanese workers who were part of an eight-member team from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on a humanitarian mission in Central Darfur state.
- ICRC trucks arrive carrying food, seeds and farming tools to be distributed to families in and around Jebel Marra (Photo: ICRC)
The incident took place when the ICRC workers were travelling in two trucks between Nertiti and Zalingei on Monday, spokesperson for the Red Cross in Sudan Rafiullah Qureishi told Sudan Tribune.
He said the gunmen had freed six of the ICRC workers who are all from Darfur, but two are still being held, adding that the organisation had contacted the concerned authorities asking for their help in securing their release.
Qureishi underlined that the Red Cross had had no direct contact with the armed group and had no further information about the identity of the abductors.
He also said it was not clear why the two remaining captives, who were driving the trucks at the time of the incident, were not released with the other group of six.
Last July, the ICRC Sudan reached some 450,000 people in the fertile Jebel Marra area, as well as around the East Darfur capital Zalingei, providing those in need with food, seeds and farming tools.
“Over 54,000 families are being given groundnut, sorghum, tomato, okra and onion seed, out of which 46,000 families will also receive tools such as ploughs and hoes. A further 21,000 families will only receive farming tools”, the ICRC said in a statement released on 30 July.
The humanitarian group, which is known for its mediation efforts, said it had provided farmers with food items such as sorghum, beans, sugar and cooking oil to enable them to save the seeds they received for planting crops.
Darfur, which has been the scene of a 10-year-long conflict ago since the start of an insurgency in February 2003, is witnessing a voluntary return of displaced civilians to their homeland. Different reports say that IDPs partly leave their camps and return to cultivate their land in order to prepare for a permanent return with their families, who remain behind in the camps.