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Page last updated at 20:09 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 21:09 UK

Darfur gunmen kidnap aid worker

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A French aid worker has been kidnapped by gunmen in Sudan's western region of Darfur, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has confirmed.

French national Gauthier Lefevre was taken hostage in Geneina, Darfur's western capital, a spokesperson said.

The aid organisation says Mr Lefevre had been travelling in a clearly marked ICRC vehicle when stopped by gunmen.

The group has called for his immediate release, adding that they have no clear idea of the identity of the kidnappers.

In Geneva, the ICRC said the kidnapping occurred around midday local time.

The ICRC is calling for the rapid and unconditional release of its kidnapped staff member
ICRC, Geneva

"Mr Lefevre was returning with other staff to Geneina, after completing a field trip north of the town to help local communities upgrade their water supply systems," the organisation said in a statement.

"The other ICRC employees who were with Mr Lefevre were not seized," it added.

Just days ago, two aid workers from the Irish charity Goal were handed over to the authorities in Khartoum, after being taken hostage by an armed group in July.

They had spent the longest time in captivity of any foreigners in Darfur, correspondents said.

No ransom or amnesty was offered to the armed gang, Khartoum said at the time.

Two employees of the joint United Nations and African Union peacekeeping force are still being held captive in Darfur.



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