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French workers abducted in Central African Republic

Map of Central African Republic

Two French aid workers have been kidnapped in the Central African Republic, their employer says.

They are said to have been taken by gunmen in the town of Birao, on the border with Chad and Sudan.

The abductions are the latest to hit aid agencies working in the region, with French workers taken in Chad this month and Sudan last month.

The French foreign ministry condemned "this latest criminal act" and demanded the release of the workers.

The ministry's crisis unit was in close contact with the concerned parties, Reuters news agency reported.

The two men worked for the Triangle charity.

A local elder told AFP news agency the armed kidnappers, numbering about 20, fled to Sudan with their hostages, as well as three cars and a motorbike.

Temporary suspension

The International Red Cross temporarily suspended its operations in Chad after a French employee was abducted by armed men in eastern Chad on 9 November.

The employee, Laurent Maurice, remains missing.

Attacks against non-governmental organisations are frequent in eastern Chad.

The region is home to hundreds of thousands of displaced people, including many made homeless by conflicts in Sudan's western Darfur region and the Central African Republic.

Another Frenchman working for the ICRC, Gauthier Lefevre, was abducted in Darfur on 22 October. He is still being held.



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SEE ALSO
French aid worker seized in Chad
10 Nov 09 |  Africa
Witness: Kidnapped in Darfur
22 Oct 09 |  Africa
Country profile: Central African Republic
15 Feb 11 |  Country profiles

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