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Sudan

Russian pilots kidnapped in Darfur, US aid worker released

Map: de: Stern

A female American aid worker who was abducted by gunmen in South Darfur last May was freed on Monday. But two Russian helicopter crew members were abducted by gunmen in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur on Sunday.

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The woman, who works for US aid group Samaritan's Purse, was kidnapped along with two Sudanese colleagues, who were later released.

The Russian pilots' helicopter was carrying food and other civilian supplies for the United Nations' mission to the region.

Chris Cysmanick, spokesperson for the United Nations' African Union mission in Darfur told RFI that the crew members “were working for a private Sudanese aviation agency”.

He said “the government of Sudan is investigating the incident” but added the United Nations Mission in Darfur “will get involved in if we are asked to.”

Cysmanick said he was unable to speculate on who was responsible for the kidnappings but said reasoning behind such acts was “either to make a political statement or to have some type of compensation”

South Darfur has seen a wave of kidnappings since March 2009, when the International Criminal Court indicted Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir for alleged war crimes there.

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