A Swiss humanitarian aid worker has been abducted in the conflict-torn Darfur region of Sudan, Switzerland’s foreign ministry and a United Nations source said on Sunday.
The kidnapping is the first such incident since a UN peacekeeping force began downsizing its troops in conflict-wracked Darfur, a western region of Sudan the size of France.
The Swiss foreign ministry told AFP in an email it was “aware of the case of a Swiss woman kidnapped in Sudan [Darfur]”. The foreign ministry did not provide any details on the identity of the abducted woman or the circumstances surrounding her kidnapping.
The Swiss national had lived in Sudan for many years and was “abducted by unidentified armed perpetrators near her residence …late last evening,” (Saturday), UN’s top aid official in Sudan, Marta Ruedas, told AFP. “She is not a UN staff member, but she has long collaborated with the UN on a number of initiatives.”
Ruedas said the aid worker has been actively involved in humanitarian work in El Fashir, the capital of North Darfur state. Social media reports indicated the abducted woman had been working for a Swiss non-governmental organization providing aid to children.