Aid workers kidnapped in CAR

2009-11-24 09:52

Paris/Nairobi - Two French nationals working with a charity in the Central African Republic (CAR) have been kidnapped, the French Foreign Ministry said.

The incident was the latest in a series of kidnappings of French citizens in the region.

"The ministry ... confirms the kidnap of two French members of the non-governmental organisation Triangle the previous evening in the Central African Republic," the ministry said in a statement on its website late on Monday.

A group of armed men seized the two unnamed employees in the town of Birao, which lies close to the Chad and Sudan borders.

The ministry condemned this "new criminal act, which once again strikes humanitarian workers in the region" and said that the ministry's crisis centre and the embassy in the CAR capital Bangui had been fully mobilised and were in contact with all parties concerned.

Another two French nationals, kidnapped in separate incidents, are still being held.

Laurent Maurice, an employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was taken in Chad in early November. The ICRC temporarily suspended its activities in the region as a result.

Another ICRC employee was taken from Sudan's restive Darfur province in October.

Eastern Chad is home to hundreds of thousands of refugees who fled conflict in Darfur, while the CAR is mired in poverty and struggling to recover from civil strife.