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Sudan: ICRC flies released GOAL staff members from Kutum to Alfasher

18-10-2009 News Release

Khartoum (ICRC) - An International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) airplane today transported GOAL staff members Sharon Commins and Hilda Kawuki from Kutum to Alfasher, in Northern Darfur, following their release.

The two GOAL representatives had been taken hostage on 3 July 2009 in northern Darfur and were safely released earlier today.

The ICRC acted as a neutral intermediary several times throughout the kidnapping period, repeatedly facilitating contacts between parties. However, the ICRC did not participate in negotiations relating to release of the GOAL representatives. GOAL is an Irish non-governmental organization not in any way affiliated with the ICRC.

On 17 October, the ICRC was informed by the kidnappers that the two hostages were to be released at a location near Kutum and was requested to pick up the two GOAL staff members there. An ICRC plane then flew both released hostages from Kutum to Alfasher, where they arrived at 10.30 am today. In Alfasher, the ICRC handed Ms Commins and Ms Kawuki over to Sudanese authorities.

The ICRC is mandated to act as a neutral intermediary in conflict situations and may be requested to intervene in situations of kidnapping. In such cases, the organization intervenes at the request of either party and always with the explicit consent of the other. It only acts as neutral intermediary once all parties involved accept its offer to do so. The taking of hostages is strictly prohibited by international humanitarian law and the ICRC welcomes the safe release of the two GOAL staff members.

 
For more information, please contact:
  Tamara Al Rifai, ICRC Khartoum, tel: +249 9121 70576