Home | News    Saturday 17 December 2011

Italian aid worker released after 4 months of abduction in Darfur

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December 16, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese security service today released an Italian aid worker kidnapped in South Darfur states since four months and arrested six of his kidnappers.

Francesco Azzara, after his arrival to Khartoum airport (photo SMC)

Francesco Azzara, 34, was abducted by unknown gunmen on 14 August while he was on his way to the airport of Nyala, capital of South Darfur state.

The hostage arrived Firday evening to the Khartoum airport on an aircraft of the Red Cross from where he was transferred to a private hospital in Khartoum for medical examinations.

Francesco who seemed in good shape, refused to make any comments, saying only that he is fine and in good health.

In Roma, Emergency confirmed Francesco’s release in a communiqué issued in the afternoon and thanked "Sudanese authorities who worked for Francesco’s release".

The groups also thanked his family for their trust in the efforts exerted by the group and the Sudanese authorities to secure his freedom during the last 124 days.

A Sudanese security official who was at the airport to welcome the aid worker told reporters that Sudanese security forces arrested six of the kidnappers. He asserted nobody was killed during the operation which involved police and army members.

He further said the kidnappers initially demanded one and a half billion Sudanese pounds for the release of the Italian hostage but later reduced the ransom to five hundred million.

The source pointed out that the kidnappers threatened to hand over the hostage to rebel movements if the requested amount is not paid.

The SMC, which is close to the Sudanese intelligence and security agency, the operation to release the hostage was organised based on collect of information strenuous monitoring of the kidnappers that lasted for several months.

Emergency which a medical aid group is working in Sudan since 2004 after the start of Darfur crisis. The group operates at two pediatric centres in Nyala and in Mayo camp for internally displaced people in Khartoum state. Also the Italian group works at heart centre in Soba, 15 km from the Sudanese capital.

(ST)

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