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Frenchman kidnapped in Chad rescued in Darfur

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 French hostage freed by the Sudanese security service speals to the press at Khartoum on 7 May 2017 (ST Photo)
May 7, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) Saturday said it has freed the French national who has been kidnapped in Chad and taken to Darfur pointing the operation was carried out in close coordination with Paris and N’Djamena.

Late last March, Chad’s Security Minister Ahmat Mahamat Bachir disclosed that a French national was abducted in Chad near the border with Sudan’s Darfur region and has been taken into Sudan.

Bachir pointed the French civilian, an employee of a French mining company operating in Chad was kidnapped south of Abeche, a mining area about 800 km (500 miles) east of the capital N’Djamena and 150 km from the border with Sudan.

In a press release on Saturday night, the director of information department at the NISS Mohamed Tabidi said the authorities managed to free Thierry Frezier following “a complex rescue operation” in the outskirts of Kutum, some 100 kilometres west of El-Fasher the capital of North Darfur state.

He pointed that the five kidnappers had been arrested by the NISS during the rescue operation.

For his part, the governor of North Darfur Abdel-Wahid Youssif said in a press conference Sunday the government received intelligence that the French national was being held in an area close to Kutum, saying they dispatched a joint force from the army, police, NISS and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to the area and he was rescued without losses.

He confirmed the government didn’t pay any ransom, saying the kidnappers were arrested and will be brought to trial.

In a press release Sunday, the French president’s office said he felt “great pleasure” at the release.

Meanwhile, the director of the NISS in North Darfur Awad al-Karim Khalid said the rescue operation was carried out in coordination with Chand and France, saying the abductors would be brought to trial under the Sudanese law.

He added the operation underscored the importance of coordination and exchange of information among security organs, pointing to the regional and international cooperation in the fight against terrorist and negative groups and organised and cross-border crime.

Khalid said: “Frezier was kidnapped in eastern Chad by outlaws from the remnants of the rebellion who sneaked him into the country and moved him between several Darfur states”.

It is noteworthy that Frezier has arrived in Khartoum on Sunday afternoon and was handed over to the French embassy in prelude to transfer him to his country.

On November 22, 2009, two French aid workers were kidnapped at Birao town in the Central African Republic (CAR) and had been taken to Darfur where they were freed three months later.

Also, in 2009 a Frenchman working for the International Committee of the Red Cross was abducted by a shadowy armed group called the Freedom Eagles of Africa, based in Darfur.

Chad is one of France’s key African allies in the counter-terror fight, with its capital N’Djamena serving as headquarters for France’s Operation Barkhane anti-Jihadist force which includes 4,000 troops.

Set up in 2014, the French force operates in five Sahel countries including Chad, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso to crush terror groups active in the region.

(ST)

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