A group purporting to have kidnapped four South African peacekeepers in Sudan’s Darfur region say they had reached a deal with the government to release them.
The two men and two women from the joint UN/African Union UNAMID mission were kidnapped on April 11 from the region’s main town Nyala, the latest in a wave of abductions of foreign workers by young men demanding ransoms.
“We will be releasing the four,” said a spokesperson for the group, which he called the Movement for the Popular Struggle.
The man, who identified himself only as Ibrahim, said the group had not been paid the ransom of around $450 000 it had originally demanded.
“But we have reached a deal with the government and they will send a delegation to us to collect them,” he added, but declined to give further detail.
A spokesman for the largest UN-funded peacekeeping mission in the world declined to comment on the report.
The abductions began last year after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes in the region, charges he denies. Bashir is expected to be elected after five days of voting last week, which he hopes will legitimise his government in defiance of the ICC.
Pic: UNMID medal parade in Nov 2005