Italian aid worker kidnapped in Darfur

2011-08-15 16:26
Rome - An Italian humanitarian worker employed in a child-care centre in western Sudan's Darfur region has been kidnapped, the foreign ministry and the charity Emergency said Monday.

Francesco Azzara, 34, was abducted on Sunday as he was driving to the airport in Nyala, capital of South Darfur province, Emergency said, calling on the kidnappers to release him immediately.

The foreign ministry said it was working with the United Nations mission in Darfur and local authorities to resolve the matter.

Azzara is in charge of logistics at the paediatric centre opened in Nyala by Emergency in July 2010.

At least 300 000 people have been killed and 1.9 million people have fled their homes since the Darfur conflict erupted in 2003 between non-Arab rebels and the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime, the United Nations says.

Following a relative lull, there have been sporadic clashes since December between rebel groups and government forces that have forced more than 70 000 people to flee their homes.

Three Bulgarian helicopter pilots kidnapped in Darfur while working under a UN contract were freed in June after 145 days in captivity.

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