Two German aid workers kidnapped in Darfur: UN

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Unknown gunmen overnight swooped on the offices of German humanitarian group THW in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region and abducted two aid workers, a United Nations official said on Wednesday.

The raid late on Tuesday took place in Nyala, capital of South Darfur state, the official of the joint UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) told AFP.

"They were kidnapped on Tuesday evening from their office in Nyala by armed men in civilian clothes," said UNAMID communication chief Kemal Saiki.

He identified the abducted aid workers as two Germans. The kidnappers also briefly held a Sudanese employee before they released him.

Another peacekeeping official said that seven men, four of them armed with assault rifles, abducted the aid workers at about 10:00 pm local time (1900 GMT).

Saiki added that the unidentified kidnappers then headed in the direction of Kass, a city north of Nyala.

The aid workers work for the Federal Agency for Technical Relief, the disaster relief arm of the German interior ministry.

Humanitarian officials said the group was closing its offices in south Darfur, but would keep working in north Darfur.

Darfur has seen a wave of kidnappings targeting foreign aid workers since an international court in March 2009 issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Beshir on charges of war crimes in Darfur.

Most of those abducted have been released unharmed, but an American female aid worker kidnapped in May is still being held hostage.

The United Nation estimates that 300,000 people have died since ethnic rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated central government, complaining of discrimination.

© 2010 AFP

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