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Swiss aid worker abducted by unknown gunmen in North Darfur

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Margaret Schenkel poses for picture with Red Crescent Society workers in North Darfur (ST file photo)
October 8, 2017 (EL-FASHER) - Unknown gunmen on Saturday have kidnapped the Swiss humanitarian worker, Margaret Schenkel, from her home in downtown El-Fasher, capital of North Darfur state.

A security source told Sudan Tribune that “unidentified gunmen on Saturday night stormed Margaret’s house in the first district neighbourhood in downtown El-Fasher”, saying they “kidnapped her at gunpoint and fled to an unknown destination”.

According to the source, the gunmen “forced her to get into a heavily armed white four-wheel-drive Land Cruiser vehicle”.

The Swiss foreign ministry on Sunday confirmed the kidnapping adding that its embassy in Khartoum was in contact with the Sudanese authorities to secure her release.

“The Foreign Ministry is aware of the case of a Swiss woman kidnapped in Darfur,” a ministry spokesman said by email.

“Switzerland is calling for a rapid and unconditional release of the abducted person,” said the ministry in a statement emailed to Reuters.

For his part, El-Fasher Commissioner, al-Tijani al-Saleh told Alshrooq TV that he believes the crime was for money, adding that security services have launched search operations to recover the abductee.

Schenkel, who runs a centre for the undernourished children in North Darfur, has worked for more than 20 years in the state. She also founded a number of humanitarian services centres.

The Swiss national also carried out volunteer work in the various parts of eastern, northern and western Sudan for more than 30 years.

Over 20 foreigners have been kidnapped for ransom money in Darfur since March 2009. All have been released unharmed.

Last May, Sudanese authorities released a French national who had been abducted in Abaché, an eastern Chad town and transported to Nort Darfur state.

(ST)

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