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British aid worker freed in Darfur after 86 days

Latest update : 30/05/2012

Article text by News Wires

Patrick Noonan, a British aid worker with the UN World Food Programme, was released 86 days after being kidnapped in southern Darfur, the programme said Wednesday, adding that 40 humanitarian workers have been abducted since 2009.

REUTERS - A British aid worker abducted by armed men in Sudan’s Darfur region has been released after almost three months in captivity, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Wednesday.

Patrick Noonan was working for WFP as a logistician in Nyala in southern Darfur when he was captured.

“The situation in Darfur remains volatile and insecurity is an issue that impedes the work of the humanitarian community serving the region,” the aid agency said.

Darfur rebels took up arms against the central government in 2003, complaining that Khartoum had neglected the remote region. Khartoum mobilised troops and mostly-Arab militias to quell the unrest.

Fighting has died down since its peak in 2003 and 2004, but banditry, tribal conflict and clashes between government troops and rebels have continued to plague the region.

WFP said 40 humanitarian workers had been abducted since 2009.

The joint United Nations/African Union peacekeeping force stationed in Darfur has been repeatedly caught in the crossfire during almost a decade of fighting between government troops and insurgents. In February, rebels detained 49 international peacekeepers but released them hours later.

The International Criminal Court has charged Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir with masterminding genocide and other crimes in the region, which he denies.



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