Jordanian peacekeepers freed by Sudan army 4 day abduction in Darfur

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — The Sudanese army on Tuesday rescued two Jordanian peacekeepers abducted by gunmen last week in the restive western region of Darfur, a Sudanese army spokesman said.

The men, who were serving as police advisers with the joint United Nations-African Union mission in Darfur, were in good condition.

Army spokesman Capt. Khalid al-Sawarmi told the Associated Press that they launched a rescue mission after receiving information about the location the kidnappers.

"We dispatched a unit that stormed the area and they fled at our approach, leaving them (the Jordanians) behind," he said, adding that they were bound and handcuffed.

The army continues to sweep the area for the kidnappers.

The two men were immediately transported to a U.N.-run hospital in the provincial capital of Nyala where they underwent a medical examination, the U.N. said in a statement.

Jordanian Information Minister Ali Ayed confirmed earlier Tuesday that the men were free and awaiting transport back to Jordan.

"They are in good health and with the Jordanian peacekeeping mission in Darfur," he said, adding that King Abdullah II had ordered a military plane to fly the men home.

Officers Ahmed Qeisi and Nabil Kilani were kidnapped on Saturday near their home in Nyala by three unidentified gunmen in a vehicle.

Fighting in Darfur began with a 2003 rebellion by ethnic African groups accusing the Arab-led government of neglecting the vast desert region and has left up to 300,000 people dead and forced 2.7 million to flee their homes, according to U.N. figures.

A joint U.N.-AU peacekeeping mission has been stationed in the area since 2007, tasked with maintaining security.

The violence in Darfur has largely subsided but banditry and kidnappings of foreign nationals and aid workers continue to plague efforts to stabilize the seven-year conflict.