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Darfur Kidnap Victims Identified - Members of 'Doctors Without Borders'

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Author Topic: Darfur Kidnap Victims Identified - Members of 'Doctors Without Borders'  (Read 35 times)
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« on: March 15, 2009, 09:12:23 am »

                                                  Darfur kidnap victims identified

                                     Italian doctor was on his first NGO mission in Africa

(updates previous coverage)
- Rome,
March 12, 2009

- An Italian doctor kidnapped in Darfur on Wednesday has been identified as Mauro D'Ascanio of Vicenza, the missionary news agency Misna reported on Thursday.

D'Ascanio and two other members of the Belgian chapter of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors
without Borders) were taken hostage at gunpoint at the MSF's headquarters in the village of
Serif Umra.

The French hostage was named as Dr. Raphael Meonier while the name of the kidnapped Canadian
nurse was Laura Archer, Misna added, citing local sources in the Darfur area where the kidnapping
took place.

MSF sources in Italy said Italian hostage was on his first mission for the organization and had been
in Darfur since September 2008 working at the Serif Umra hospital.

Specialised in emergency and tropical medicine, Dr. D'Ascanio had previous experience abroad working for humanitarian missions in Guinea Bissau, Mexico, Brazil and Guatamala. Misna said that the kidnapping took place without violence and that two Sudanese nationals taken hostage along with the MSF staff were released soon after and claimed to have been treated well.

Although Misna said it could not confirm reports that a ransom request had been received, the Egyptian news agency MENA reported that released Sudanese nationals carried a ransom demand from the kidnappers.

MSF sources in Italy said there has been no ransom request not had any group claimed responsibility
for the kidnapping.

However, there are reports in Sudan that the kidnapping was carried out by an anti-government group calling itself the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

The Belgian chapter of MSF said in Brussels on Thursday that it would withdraw its mission from Darfur, leaving behind only those involved in obtaining the release of the hostages Following the recent order for his arrest issued by the International Criminal Court, Sudanese President Omar al Bashir expelled 13 non-governmental organizations including the French and Dutch branches of MSF but not the Belgian one.

Misna said the area where the kidnapping took place was ''considered to be one of the least secure in
all Darfur and hosts elements of all groups involved in the conflict begun in 2003''.

The area was also said to be home to anti-governemnt forces operating in neighboring Chad.

''For some time humanitarian groups have complained about the extreme lack of security in various
areas of the region. Only last month two French aid workers employed by a non-governmental organization were killed when the bus they were riding in was attacked,'' Misna reported.

''At the beginning of March, another humanitarian group, Doctors of the World, announced that due
to the serious security situation it was evacuating its personnel from Deribat, in the area of Jebel Marra, not far from the scene of Wednesday's kidnapping,'' the agency added.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2009, 07:59:54 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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