Home | News    Tuesday 18 November 2003

Four aid workers go missing in Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur region

GENEVA, Nov 18 (AFP) — Four staff working for a Swiss-based international aid agency have gone missing in western Sudan’s troubled Darfur region, the organisation, Medair, said on Tuesday.

The aid workers, all Sudanese, did not return from a mission near the town of Kolbus on November 11 along with a government official, Medair’s director, Erik Volkmar, said.

"They are still missing and we are very much hoping they are still alive," Volkmar told AFP.

"We have some contact with different actors in the region. I don’t want to comment further," he added.

Since February, Darfur, in western Sudan along the border with Chad, has been the scene of clashes between a rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), and government forces backed by local militias.

At least 3,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced by the fighting in the area, where Medair provides supplies and medical help to up to 45,000 people.

The United Nations last week complained that aid for Darfur was being choked off by government red tape and security precautions, hampering its reponse to a growing humanitarian crisis there.