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Abducted Nigerian peacekeeper released in South Darfur

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May 1, 2014 (EL FASHER) – A Nigerian peacekeeper from the hybrid United Nations-African Union mission in Darfur (UNAMID) was released on Thursday after 54 days in captivity.

Sergeant Awesu Soleiman was abducted in South Darfur capital Nyala on 9 March 14.

In a statement on Thursday, joint special representative for Darfur Mohamed Ibn Chambas expressed UNAMID’s gratitude to the Sudanese government and the wali (governor) of South Darfur for helping secure Soleiman’s safe release.

He also thanked the Nigerian government for their valuable assistance.

Soleiman was driving a UNAMID water truck from the Dereige camp for displaced people to UNAMID’s super camp in Nyala when he was abducted about 4.50pm (local time).

The UNAMID statement makes no mention of the identity of the sergeant’s abductors or whether a ransom demand was received for Soleiman’s release.

A number of foreign nationals have been abducted in the troubled western region after being targeted by criminal gangs for ransom.

UNAMID is the world’s largest peacekeeping force in the world and has been deployed in Darfur since 2007. Almost 170 of its troops and police have been killed in the region during that time.

South Darfur has witnessed an escalation in violence and lawlessness in recent months amid clashes between Darfuri rebels, Sudanese government forces and government-sponsored militias.

(ST)

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