Peacekeepers release a "freedom day present" – Zuma

The release of four South Africans abducted in the Sudan, was
the “best Freedom Day present for the country”, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.

This was after the four, who were kidnapped while on a United
Nations -African Union Mission in Darfur (Unamid), were released on

“They are shaken but are in good health and good spirits,” the
presidency said in a statement.

Arrangements were being made for their return home.

Zuma congratulated the four hostages for their bravery and wished them well in their recovery from the ordeal.

The presidency said Zuma liaised with the United Nations, the Sudanese government and other structures to secure their release.

Unamid spokesman Saiki Kemal on Monday confirmed the release of the four, abducted earlier this month.

The peacekeepers – two men and two women – were released in
Nertiti, approximately 50 kilometres from Nyala, a city in Southern Darfur.

“The government of Sudan’s official security were there to receive them they were transported by a Unamid helicopter to Nyala. “The chief of the mission Mr Ibrahim Gambari, along with his deputy Mr Mahommed Yonis and a number of government of Sudan officials were also there to welcome them,” Kemal said.

South African Micheal Fryer, a Unamid police commissioner, was also there to welcome the four police officers.

“It seems it had been difficult for them, but they are tough people. They are professional police officers in a peacekeeping mission… they are looking good,” said Kemal.

He said the four officers will be transported to Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, later where they will spend the night before travelling back to South Africa.

The four unarmed police advisors’ last movement before their abduction was reported at 4pm on April 11 when they left Nyala in South Darfur on a seven-kilometre journey back to their private quarters, Unamid said at the time.

AFP reported that Jibril Bukhari Abbas, the head of a Darfur group calling itself the People’s Democratic Struggle Movement,
said one of its members had carried out the kidnapping but without instructions from the group.
The group told the agency it wanted one billion Sudanese pounds (US400,000) but that this was not “most important”.

“We want to show the international community that security conditions in Darfur do not allow for elections.”

Kemal said no ransom was paid.

Source: SAPA

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