Sudan: managing to stay positive during almost six months of captivity
The ICRC's head of operations for East Africa, Daniel Duvillard, comments on the release of ICRC staff member Gauthier Lefevre and on the work of the ICRC in Sudan.
I was and I still am immensely happy and relieved about his release and would like to thank everyone who supported us during those difficult times and who helped achieve his liberation. For Gauthier, his partner and his family, the 147 days of captivity were a painful ordeal. They have shown extraordinary strength in coping with the situation.
Did the ICRC pay any ransom? How was Gauthier released?
No, we did not pay any ransom. The ICRC's policy worldwide is not to pay ransom money. If we had made an exception in this case, we would be endangering the security of ICRC staff as well as the organization's capacity to work in conflict zones and other sensitive areas in Sudan as well as in many other countries. After Gauthier was abducted on 22 October 2009 near Al Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, we worked closely with the Sudanese authorities to ensure his safe return. On March 18, his captors finally handed him over to these authorities.
What does the future hold for the ICRC in Darfur?
We remain committed to the people of Darfur. On the other hand, we also have to take into account the safety of our staff. Therefore, we are now looking at var ious ways of working that allow us to achieve both objectives.See also: Interview with Gauthier Lefèvrenews release and .