UN chief tasks Al-Bashir on Darfur situation

New York- US (PANA) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Sudanese Presid ent Omar Al-Bashir to secure the release of two staff members of the UN-AU Missi o n in Darfur (UNAMID), who have been held hostage for about 100 days.
The Pan African News Agency (PANA) reports that Ban made the appeal in a telepho ne conversation with Al-Bashir.
He also stressed that the situation was critical, given that one of the captives was gravely ill.
The new UN spokeperson, Martin Nesirky, who assumed duties on Monday, told UN re porters that the secretary-general had on Sunday called on the Sudanese leader t o discuss the plight of the abducted workers.
He said that both officials also discussed last weekend's killing of five peacek eepers in an attack in the region.
PANA learnt that the two staffers, a man and a woman, were abducted at gunpoint in West Darfur state on 29 August.
``The government has been attempting to secure their release but they have not a s yet been released,'' Nesirky told reporters.
``The president assured the secretary-general that everything possible was being done to secure their release,'' he stated.
He also said that Ban urged that the perpetrators of the two weekend attacks on peacekeepers in Darfur, that killed five Rwandan peacekeepers, be brought to jus t ice.
The five blue helmets from Rwanda were killed in separate incidents on Friday an d Saturday, bringing the total number of peacekeepers who have lost their lives i n Darfur since UNAMID deployed at the end of 2008 to 22.
Al-Bashir indicated he had issued instructions to his security agencies th at the perpetrators be apprehended as soon as possible," Nesirky said.
The spokesperson disclosed that during the phone call, the secretary-general exp ressed his appreciation to the Sudanese government for its support on the recent appointment of Prof.
Ibrahim Gambari as the new UNAMID Joint Special Representative.
The UN Security Council established UNAMID in 2007 to try to quell the violence in Darfur, which had claimed an estimated 300,000 people, with 2.
7 million other s displaced.

08 december 2009 12:15:00

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