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Belgian charity worker seriously wounded in Darfur shooting: report

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BRUSSELS, Aug 31 (AFP) — A member of the Belgian charity Caritas has been shot and seriously wounded in Sudan’s conflict-ridden western Darfur region, the Belga news agency reported Tuesday.

The man, whose nationality was not revealed, "came under fire as he was travelling in a vehicle carrying aid supples to Mershing," in southern Darfur, the Roman Catholic charity was quoted as saying.

The victim had been hospitalised in the nearby town of Nyala where he was to undergo surgery.

Spokeswoman Jessica Hertsens said the Sudanese authorities had been informed and that Caritas was awaiting the results of their investigation.

Despite the attack, Hertsens said Caritas would remain in the region, where it has been providing food, shelter and drinking water since June, also offering health and education services in camps for displaced persons.

Two groups of 22 Sudanese health workers and eight Sudanese working for international agencies have been reported kidnapped in Darfur this week. Rebel leaders have strongly denied government charges that they were involved.

The United Nations estimates that the 18-month conflict between Sudan’s government, backed by Arab militia allies, and two rebel groups, has forced than 1.4 million people from their homes and left 30,000 to 50,000 dead.

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