Christian Aid Partner Workers Kidnapped in Latest Sudan Violence
Reports have indicated that three staff working for the Sudan Social Development Organisation (SUDO), a partner organisation of Christian Aid, have been kidnapped in Darfur, Sudan.
The workers were reportedly hijacked at gunpoint while visiting the Zam Zam camp in El Fasher in the northern region of Darfur on 29th September. It is believed by Christian Aid that they were taken by members of a local Militia group.
Other members of SUDO staff working in the region were immediately informed of the hijacking by residents at the camp, but despite widespread searches have been unable to locate their staff of the hijackers.
Up until now, SUDO has been operating passionately in the Darfur region, delivering health and sanitation facilities to the people living in the camps.
The latest alarming incident is just one of numerous attacks that have taken place in Darfur recently, as the security situation of aid and relief workers continues to worsen.
In addition to the fresh attacks on SUDO’s workers, over the past week in West Darfur, attacks also took place in Gosmeina, which left 29 civilians dead in an internal refugee camp. More than 8 temporary shelters were burnt down in the attacks, which were inflicted by approximately 250 armed militias.
Christian Aid’s Sudan Policy Officer, Stephanie Brigden said, “The situation in Darfur is deteriorating and this is making it hazardous for non-governmental organisations to operate in the region. As a result, many people in Darfur are not getting the assistance they need.”
|TOP|Earlier in the week the United Nations reported that the violence has become a great hindrance of the delivery of food and other humanitarian aid to more than 2 millions displaced people in Darfur and Chad.
Jan Egeland, the UN’s emergency relief co-ordinator told reporters in Geneva, “As we speak, we have had to suspend action in many areas, tens of thousands of people will not get any assistance today because it is too dangerous, and it could grow.”
Some statistics have indicated that as many as 300,000 people have died in Darfur due to the violence since February 2003. The huge crisis began when the Sudanese government arranged for Arabic tribal militias and nomadic herders to form the Janjaweed, a group to respond to rebel attacks by attacking farming settlements.
Jan Pronk, the representative of the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan in Sudan, reported to the Security Council on Sept. 21 that deployment of UN peacekeepers to southern Sudan and African Union troops to Darfur had to be sped up drastically to ensure violence would not once again spill over.
The African Union has so far sent approximately 3,000 of its 7,000 promised troops in the Darfur region to offer protection to the villagers there.
The United Nations sent 2,500 of the 10,000 promised troops in March to regulate and mediate in a January cease-fire agreement between the Muslim-dominated north of Sudan, and the Christian south – a civil war that has claimed the lives of an estimated 1.5 million people.
For the moment at least Christian Aid continues to work through its partners in the region and will stay in close contact with SUDO and will provide support as requested.