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January 5, 11

NEWS / UN-African Union mission welcomes release of staffer kidnapped in Darfur

5 January 2011 – The joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur today welcomed the release of one of its staff members who was kidnapped in the strife-torn Sudanese region three months ago.

Istvan Papp, who was released earlier today, appeared to be “unharmed and in good health,” the mission, known as UNAMID, stated in a news release.

Mr. Papp, a national of Hungary, was transported upon his release to El Fasher, the North Darfur capital where the mission is headquartered, for a medical examination, and was then taken to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

“We are thankful to have our colleague back with us, safe and sound,” said the Joint Special Representative and head of UNAMID, Ibrahim Gambari.

Mr. Papp was abducted along with two other peacekeepers from their residence in El Fasher on 7 October by gunmen who left in a UNAMID vehicle. The other two staff members managed to escape from the moving vehicle.

A total of 10 UNAMID peacekeepers have been abducted since 2008, when the mission began its mandate to protect civilians in Darfur. At least 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million driven from their homes as a result of the fighting that has ravaged the region over the past seven years.

“The mission shall not be deterred by such acts of violence and criminal activities against its peacekeepers, and calls on the Government of the Sudan to bring the perpetrators to justice,” UNAMID stated.




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