2 German aid workers abducted in Darfur | world | Hindustan Times
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2 German aid workers abducted in Darfur

Gunmen raided a humanitarian agency's office in south Darfur and kidnapped two German aid workers, a spokesman for the international peacekeeping mission said Wednesday.

world Updated: Jun 23, 2010 22:43 IST

Gunmen raided a humanitarian agency's office in south Darfur and kidnapped two German aid workers, a spokesman for the international peacekeeping mission said Wednesday.

Kidnappings of foreign aid workers have been on the rise in Darfur since 2009, following an international arrest warrant against Sudan's president for alleged war crimes in Darfur. The identity of the kidnappers is unknown and there has been no contact with the men who were abducted late Tuesday, said Chris Cycmanick, spokesman for the U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

The German Foreign Ministry said two men working for the Technisches Hilfswerk, a state agency doing development work, have been missing in Darfur since Tuesday.

The men are 34 and 52, foreign ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke told reporters in Berlin.

Cycmanick said seven gunmen, including four men carrying automatic rifles, entered the residence of Technisches Hilfswerk group in Nyala, the capital of south Darfur. There were no reports of gunfire.

A Sudanese security guard who was briefly abducted was being questioned by the Sudanese authorities.

Kidnappers mostly have demanded ransom in recent cases, but some have made political statements.

Four UNAMID peacekeepers were abducted in April just outside of Nyala for 16 days, during Sudan's first nationwide multiparty elections.

The kidnappers, members of a small rebel group, said they abducted the peacekeepers to prove that security in Darfur was not good enough to hold the vote. The elections were widely criticized by Sudanese opposition and rebel groups.

U.N. officials say at least 300,000 people have lost their lives from violence, disease and displacement, and 2.7 million have been driven from their homes.

Violence has largely subsided in Darfur over the last year, but a recent spike followed the April elections. Five peacekeepers were killed since May in attacks by gunmen, while clashes between government forces and rebels were reported.