The convoy of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, unseen, pass by a Sudanese man riding a camel after visiting the Um Shalaya refugee camp south of the Darfur town of Geneina, Sudan, Wednesday, April 25, 2007. (Photo by AP)
Armed men have abducted three members of the United Nations’ refugee agency, including two foreigners, in Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region.
A local government official said Monday that two Nepalese and a Sudanese national working for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had been abducted in Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state, on Sunday.
Abdelah Mustafa, spokesman for the state government of West Darfur, said that police were searching for the kidnappers.
UNHCR’s spokesman in the capital Khartoum told AFP that a meeting was underway to discuss the “urgent incident.”
Darfur has been the scene of violence since 2003, when rebels took up arms against the government in Khartoum. There has also been tribal fighting in the region.
The UN estimates that violence in Darfur has so far killed some 300,000 people and internally displaced over 2.5 million. Khartoum, however, disputes the figures, saying the death toll is no more than 10,000.
A Sudanese refugee from Darfur walks past tents during an open-ended sit-in outside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Jordanian capital Amman on December 12, 2015, demanding better treatment and acceleration of their relocation. (Photo by AFP)
Darfur was a united region since its incorporation into Sudan in 1916 until 1994, when long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir divided it into three states, adding two more in 2012.
The country’s ruling National Congress Party insists that the five-state system can better serve the people of Darfur.
The United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) was launched in 2007 in a bid to protect civilians and restore stability to the restive region.
Sudan insists that the conflict in Darfur has ended, and that it wants UN peacekeepers, who have been deployed in the region since 2007, to leave.