A local government official says armed men in Darfur have abducted three UN refugee agency workers, including two foreigners. The region is afflicted by a long-running conflict that has killed some 300,000 people.
Three workers from the United Nation's refugee agency, UNHCR, have been kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in Sudan's restive Darfur region, a local official told news agencies on Monday.
"A group of armed men kidnapped yesterday three UNHCR workers, two Nepalese and a Sudanese, from Geneina," the official told AFP news agency, referring to the capital of West Darfur state.
He said police were searching for the gunmen and their victims, who have been taken to an unknown location.
A resident told AFP that the abduction occurred near the main mosque in Geneina, and that the three workers had been forced to get into a vehicle that drove off quickly.
Several foreign and local aid workers have been abducted in the region over the past few years.
Darfur is still wracked by a conflict that has its roots in an insurgency by ethnic minority black tribes against the Arab-dominated government of President Omar al-Bashir.
The government has employed so-called "Janjaweed" militia, whose members have been recruited from Arab tribes, to help put down the rebellion. They have been accused of rapes, killings and other abuses against the black tribes that are their rivals for the scarce resources in the region.
Khartoum insists that violence in the region has ebbed, and repeatedly declared an end to the conflict.
At least 300,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million made homeless since the conflict erupted in 2003, according to the UN.
He has denied all charges, and also wants UN peacekepers, deployed in Darfur since 2007; to leave.
tj/msh (Reuters, AFP)