13 March 2009
KHARTOUM -The Sudanese government says it is negotiating with a group of armed men who are holding three Western aid workers hostage in the conflict-ridden Darfur region.
“We think it is done by a group who has asked for a ransom, and we are negotiating with them,” Ali Yousif, the Foreign Ministry’s director general of protocol, said today by telephone from the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. He refused to give any details about the ransom and said the government wouldn’t take any military action that endangered the hostages’ lives.
Aid agency Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, or MSF, yesterday said it was evacuating almost all its staff from Sudan after a Canadian nurse, an Italian doctor and a French coordinator working for its Belgian branch were kidnapped March 11 from their residential compound in northern Darfur. Today, Fabienne de Leval, deputy general-director of MSF-Belgium, said the evacuations would be out of Darfur only.