Gunmen abduct aid workers in Sudan

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Darfur regions of Sudan.

Two foreign aid workers have been reported kidnapped in the western Darfur region of Sudan. United Nations (UN) and African Union officials in Sudan stated that the two women were abducted at gunpoint from their camp in the town of Kutum.

A Sudanese national was also abducted but released a short time later, according to officials.

The aid workers were identified as Sharon Commins, 32, of Ireland and Hilda Kawuki, 42, of Uganda. Both work for the Irish humanitarian organization, GOAL. John O'Shea, a GOAL executive, indicated that the women were abducted by as many as six assailants. "We don't know who took them," O'Shea told Reuters. "There are so many splinter groups in the area you'd only be guessing." He added that GOAL had not previously experienced a kidnapping.

The kidnappers have not been identified and there have been no claims of responsibility reported thus far. There have been two other incidents of kidnapping of aid workers in Darfur since March of this year, but all victims were released within days to a few weeks.