Mechem: SA man on legitimate contract

2012-04-29 18:02

Khartoum - The SA demining company Mechem on Sunday said two of its workers were abducted by the Sudanese military while on a UN landmine clearance contract in South Sudan.

The men - a South African and a South Sudanese man - were captured along with a Briton and a Norwegian in the tense Heglig oil region.

"We captured them inside Sudan's borders in the Heglig area, and they were collecting war debris for investigation," Sudanese army spokesperson Sawarmi Khaled Saad told AFP after the four were brought to Khartoum.

Heglig, Sudan's main oil region, has been at the centre of recent fighting between Sudan and South Sudan.

Ashley Williams, Mechem's CEO, rejected suggestions by Khaled that the men were working in support of South Sudan in its "aggression" against the north.

"It's humanitarian work so the story of them being military advisers and this type of thing is completely and utterly nonsense and not true," he said.

"We are doing humanitarian landmine clearance on a UN contract and our members have full UN immunity. The abduction took place well within South Sudan territory," he told AFP, saying the group was travelling south between two UN bases.

"Then they grabbed them and drove back to Heglig with them where they then said they've arrested them in this disputed area while they weren't there at all."

A team remained in the area, which the United Nations would bring out with protection over fears of similar action, Williams said.


Read more on:    un  |  mechem  |  sudan  |  south sudan  |  east africa

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