UN presses Sudan on security

2010-10-08 12:05
El Fasher – The United Nations ambassadors pressed the Sudanese authorities to do more to ensure the safety of aid workers and peacekeepers in Darfur on Friday after gunmen abducted a UN staffer.

The 15 Security Council envoys, who were in Darfur to express UN concern about renewing fighting between government troops and ethnic minority rebels in the western region, met North Darfur state Governor Othman Mohammed Yusef Kabbir.

Britain's UN ambassador, Mark Lyall Grant, said the envoys had told Kabbir of their concern for the civilian employee of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur (Unamid) who was kidnapped at nightfall on Thursday.

"One of the reasons for the council being in Darfur was to highlight its underlying concern about security, including for aid workers and peacekeepers," Lyall Grant said after the meeting.

Thursday's abduction was the first to hit Darfur peacekeepers in El Fasher, the region's historic capital, although there have been thefts and carjackings in the past, a spokesman for the force said.

"The Sudanese authorities put out an all-points bulletin and started an immediate manhunt," spokesperson Kemal Saiki said.

"Sudanese police have stepped up security at checkpoints in all El Fasher."

Saiki said four or five gunmen broke into a house where UN staff were based and abducted two of the four people there at the time.

No indication of  the motives

"They tied them and took them away with one of the Unamid cars that was there," he said.

"As they were getting away, one of the Unamid workers succeeded in escaping. He opened the door and jumped out."

Saiki said it was unclear who was responsible for the kidnapping.

"We have no indication of the motives. We have no indication of their identities," he said.

The peacekeeping force has around 1 000 foreign personnel in El Fasher, 600 of them at a military base there.

Saiki said plans were afoot to move more of the staff to the base where security was better.

The British ambassador said he did not think the abduction was directly linked to the visit by Security Council representatives.

"It highlights the general security situation in El Fasher and in Darfur," Lyall Grant said.

Noisy protest

For a second straight day, supporters of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir held a noisy protest against the arrest warrant issued for him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide over his government's handling of the Darfur conflict.

Some 200 demonstrators gathered outside the state government building where the UN envoys were meeting the governor chanting "down, down with the ICC."

The governor accused the international community of politicising the Darfur conflict and called on the Security Council ambassadors to take steps to adopt a more neutral stance.

"You see with one eye instead of two, you hear with one ear instead of two," Kabbir said.

Since ethnic minority rebels first rose up against the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime in 2003, about 300 000 people have died and 2.7 million people fled their homes, according to UN estimates.

The government puts the death toll at 10 000.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    un  |  unamid  |  sudan  |  abductions  |  east africa

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

6 reasons Boks won’t botch it
Fiji far too strong for Uruguay
Burger hopes for elusive World Cup win
As it happened: Fiji 47-15 Uruguay
Traffic Alerts

Relationships and significant connections may play an important role in your day today. Let the warmth of the Leo moon inspire you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.