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IOM staffer released in South Darfur after 20 days

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July 25, 2014 (NYALA) – A staff member from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), who was abducted 20 days ago in South Darfur capital Nyala, has been released unharmed.

Felix Ngoma, a Zambian national, will be flown back to his home country via Khartoum, the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said in a statement following his release.

Ngoma was abducted on 6 July when gunmen driving on a land cruiser intercepted him along the road between UNAMID’s regional headquarters and Nyala town.

The abductors forced him out of his vehicle at gunpoint before disappearing with him in their car.

UNAMID said Ngoma appears to be unharmed and in good health.

Joint special representative for Darfur Mohamed Ibn Chambas and the officer-in-charge of IOM in Sudan, Maysaa Alghribawy, have expressed their appreciation to the Sudanese government, National Intelligence and Security Services, the Wali (governor) of South Darfur and the Zambian government for their assistance in securing Ngoma’s release.

Ngoma’s release comes after the release last week of three Sudanese aid workers who were abducted in North Darfur and held for 32 days.

The trio was among 25 humanitarian workers kidnapped in three separate attacks in Kutum on 18 June. All have since been released unharmed.

In May, a Nigerian peacekeeper was released after 54 days in captivity after being abducted on 9 March while driving a water truck from water truck from the Dereige camp for displaced people to Nyala.

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.

In a report released earlier this month, Chambas underscored the need to disarm militia and armed groups, stressing that this measure is crucial to restore security and implement peace in the region.

(ST)

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