Security forces free Russian hostages in Sudan


Two Russians held hostage in the Sudanese region of Darfur were freed in an operation by security forces on Friday and their captors taken prisoner, Sudanese authorities said on Saturday.

“The kidnappers and their equipment are under our control,” Lieutenant General Taj al-Sir Othman, a senior officer in Sudan’s security agency, told reporters at Khartoum airport where the hostages, employees of airline UTair, were flown after their liberation.

Russia’s Ambassador to Sudan, Mirgayas Shirinsky, said: “The release took place without violence or ransom payment.”

The Russian foreign ministry said the hostages were in good health and had been freed as a result of co-operation between the ministry, the Sudanese authorities, the United Nations Secretariat and UNAMID, the U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

UTair said in early February the employees had been seized at gunpoint when a UNAMID minibus had been blocked. Sudan’s foreign ministry said then that the kidnapping was not a political act.