A UN employee that was part of a UN Security Council visit to Sudan's Darfur was kidnapped on Thursday night.
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While the kidnapping was most likely motivated by money rather than by politics, the abduction raises concerns about deteriorating security conditions in Darfur, where separatists have been battling government forces for the last six years.
“Armed men entered the residence of four civilian staff members in downtown El Fasher. They tied up two of them and made away with the other two in a vehicle. One man escaped and the other is still missing,” a UN mission spokesman told Russia’s RTT News.
The delegation had received a friendly welcome in the southern city of Juba, where people lined the streets cheering on the UN convoy. When it arrived in El Fasher, however, it was met by protesters who nearly prevented the group from leaving the airport, reports the Sudan Tribune. The demonstrators were supporters of President Omar al-Bashir who has been accused of war crimes in Darfur and is wanted by the International Criminal Court.
The UN group had refused to meet with Mr. Bashir, but this was likely not the cause of the kidnapping. According to the BBC’s James Copnall in Khartoum, several foreigners have been kindnapped in Darfur since the ICC issued a warrant for the arrest of the president, but the abductions have been most likely about money.