Three United Nations employees were recently taken hostage in the volatile Sudanese region of Darfur, local government authorities reported on Monday.
The employees, two Nepalese and one Sudanese national, were picked up by a group of armed men in a 4-by-4 vehicle in the town of Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state.
A local resident elaborated further on the incident, speaking to AFP anonymously.
“I saw some armed men ordering the three UN employees to get into their vehicle. They then drove off quickly.”
“The incident happened near the main mosque of Geneina,” the resident said.
UNHCR, the United Nations’ official refugee agency, has not commented on the situation, but its spokesman in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum relayed to AFP via text that meetings were being held to discuss the “urgent incident.”
This area of Sudan has been gripped by violence since a 2003 civil war erupted between the country’s often repressed black tribes and the Arab-controlled government. The president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, is wanted by the international community on charges of genocide as well as war crimes. He has denied all charges against him.
The UN estimates the Darfur conflict has caused the deaths of at least 300,000 people, leaving 2.5 million displaced.
The kidnapped workers have not been found, and police continue searching for the attackers.