News24

Freed Sudan hostage returns to Italy

2011-12-17 18:53

Rome - An Italian humanitarian worker abducted in Darfur in August returned to Rome on Saturday after more than four months in captivity, Ansa news agency reported.

"My son arrived in Rome today at 06:00 [05:00 GMT] on a special flight," his father, Santo Azzara, was quoted as saying.

"We want to thank all the authorities who have been close to us and have supported us during this drama," he said.

The hostage's release was reported on Friday by the Sudan Media Centre, which is close to the security apparatus. The report said that he had been released by the authorities in Western Darfur, without adding further details.

Azzara, who was in charge of logistics at a paediatric centre opened in Darfur by Italian medical charity Emergency in July 2010, was abducted as he drove to the airport in Nyala, capital of South Darfur state.

There has been a wave of kidnappings for ransom in the war-torn region in recent years. Around 30 foreigners have been abducted in the area since 2009, but most were released unharmed a few days later.

But three Bulgarian helicopter pilots snatched in Darfur while working under a UN contract spent 145 days in captivity before being freed in June.