South Africa: still no info on kidnapped officers

Police were still in the dark late about what had happened to four South African peacekeepers kidnapped in Sudan.

“I am deeply concerned that no information is forthcoming about their whereabouts and I earnestly appeal for people in the know to please come forward with information,” police Commissioner General Bheki Cele said in a statement.

“I am constantly being kept updated on developments relating to our four members. Regrettably to date it is unknown exactly what happened to our members.”

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

The families of the two men and two women were being updated.

Earlier, the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (Unamid) said no ransom demands had been made.

“Despite an all-out effort on every front, the peacekeepers and their vehicle remain unaccounted for. Our concern is that we are now facing a carjacking and abduction situation. Notwithstanding recent media reports, we have not been contacted by any party nor have we received any claim or demand of any sort,” Unamid joint special representative Ibrahim Gambari said in a statement.

He was in “constant contact” with Sudanese government officials.

“[They] have not been seen or heard from in more than 72 hours… Unamid has continued to mobilise all its resources in the region and is working in close co-operation with the government of the Sudan and local authorities in the search for the missing peacekeepers.”

The Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency reported their kidnapping on Wednesday, describing it as the largest single abduction of foreigners in the war-torn Darfur region.

The abduction came as former president Thabo Mbeki visited North Darfur while Sudan was holding its first competitive elections in more than two decades.

Fmr. Pres Mbeki is the head of the AU panel on Darfur.


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