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UN chief blames Sudan for kidnapping of aid workers

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March 12, 2009 (NEW YORK) — The UN Secretary-General indicated in a press briefing that he blames the Government of Sudan for the kidnapping of five humanitarian aid workers on Wednesday night, two of whom were Sudanese who were subsequently released.

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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon answers reporters’ questions during a joint press conference with South Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-soo, unseen, at government house in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, July 4, 2008 (AP)

The UN chief first expressed his concern for the staff working with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Belgium chapter who were abducted from their compound last night in Darfur.

The humanitarian workers were kidnapped in Serif Umra. In a new update, the Sudan Media Centre, which is backed by the Sudanese intelligence branches, claimed Thursday that the kidnappers were demanding a ransom.

Asked whether he directly blames the Government of Sudan for the kidnapping, the Secretary-General responded “Governments in principle, in general, have the responsibility as a sovereign government for whatever is taking place within their territory.”

Moreover, earlier he also referred to “deliberate attacks” on the aid community. He commented, “I am deeply concerned by this development together with, again, attacks against UN peacekeepers a few days ago. Security incidents and deliberate attacks of the United Nations and aid community over the past weeks and months in Darfur have increased markedly.”

Ban’s reference to “deliberate attacks” may refer to an ambush of a UNAMID convoy traveling through a government-held area late on Monday outside of the West Darfur capital. Another incident occurred Thursday in a government-held town in North Darfur, when a UNAMID vehicle was robbed at gunpoint by unknown men.

The French and the Dutch sections of MSF were recently expelled from Darfur, but three sections remained: the Belgian, Swiss and Spanish. Now all MSF sections are withdrawing their international staff from Darfur, except a “skeleton team” left to follow the case of their abducted colleagues. The aid agency said that essential medical services will be interrupted.

Ban Ki-Moon predicted, “I do not believe that in the absence of those humanitarian NGOs, the United Nations and the Sudanese Government will be able to fill the gap created by this absence.”

(ST)

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  • 13 March 2009 14:39, by Gatbentiu

    The aid workers should understand very clearly that they are not needed in Darfur as long as the impeached president is stil on the seat.
    MSF were told to packed off from Darfur,but they don’t listen,let them come to JUNUB.How can you provide security when you are not secured yourself? Omar is in hot soup he can not do anything for the safety of those unfortunate folks who fall victims of his order.
    The old saying goes,"you can not give what you don’t have",people without security can not make other feel secure.

    dholbentiu@gmail.com

    repondre message

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