Home | News    Wednesday 26 November 2003

Aid Workers safely Returned


By Erik Volkmar

Nov. 25, 2003 (MEDAIR) — Late in the afternoon on the 24 November 4 missing Medair staff and one government official returned to El Geneina in West Darfur. They had left 2 weeks prior (10 November) to carry out a distribution to displaced populations in Kolbus locality, West Darfur.

The Medair vehicle was attacked on the 11 November by an armed group. In the attack the team were separated. Three Medair staff were held by the assailants, the remaining staff member and the government official were picked up and cared for by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The JEM proceeded to locate the armed group holding the other 3 Medair staff and ensured their release.

Aided by the JEM the Medair team were able to contact Medair’s office in El Geneina on the 17 November and a plan to pass the team back to Medair was developed.

Finally on 22 November the team was handed over by the JEM to MSF Belgium and the Chadian authorities in Tine on the Chad border. On the 23rd they were ’cleared’ by the authorities. MSF Belgium provided the team with supplies. The team then proceeded to Abeche and the following day arrived at the border in Adre where they were met by the Wali of El Geneina and the Medair staff.

The ’handing over’ process involved many parties however Medair wishes to express their gratitude and appreciation to MSF Belgium in particular the Tine office and to the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (Geneva) for their valuable assistance.

Furthermore Medair acknowledges that the JEM obtained the release of the Medair staff from an armed group and ensured the teams’ wellbeing while in their care.

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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