French Oxfam worker briefly held hostage in Chad

27th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

A French humanitarian worker was kidnapped Sunday by armed men in eastern Chad and found four hours later close to the Sudanese border, government sources said.

The Frenchwoman, who worked for Oxfam, was kidnapped by seven armed men at 01:00 am (0000 GMT) from a camp run by the NGO in Koukou Angarana that is home to 20,000 Sudanese refugees, Ahmat Mahamat Bashir, the minister in charge of security in Chad, told AFP.

"Seven armed men arrived .. they seized the head of the camp, a Frenchwoman, took two vehicles with fuel and drove away towards the border," said Bashir.

Security forces were alerted and sent in pursuit of the vehicles.

"At around 05:00 am, the kidnappers abandoned the hostage and the two vehicles," said the minister.

An Oxfam worker responsible for security at Koukou Angarana confirmed the incident.

"A female colleague was kidnapped by an unknown group of armed men. She has been freed," said the employee, who would not reveal the identity or condition of the hostage.

"We would like to thank Chad's defence and security forces for their efforts," he said.

Koukou Angarana is located around 180 kilometres southeast of Abeche, a major city in volatile eastern Chad that is a base for numerous NGOs and agencies that are delivering aid to nearly half a million displaced Chadians and refugees from Darfur and Central African Republic.

Sunday's incident came two weeks after a dual Swiss-British national working for Oxfam was freed after being taken hostage in Abeche and held for nine days.

According to the Chadian government, Hubert Ballaman was freed on June 15 by a mixed force of Chad and Sudanese forces deployed on the border.

© 2010 AFP

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