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MSF Confirms Abduction of 3 Staff in Sherif Umrah, Darfur
March 12, 2009
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today confirms reports that three of its international staff were abducted last night in Serif Umra, in the Sudanese province of North Darfur. Two of MSF's Sudanese staff were taken at the same time; however, they have since been released.
The three international staff abducted are a Canadian nurse, an Italian doctor, and a French coordinator, who were working for the Belgian section of MSF. Their immediate relatives have been informed.
As a result of the abductions, all sections of MSF are withdrawing almost all international staff from projects in Darfur. Only an essential skeleton team will remain to follow the case of the abducted MSF colleagues. A number of Sudanese staff will also be relocated for now.
This evacuation will mean an interruption to many of MSF's essential medical services in Darfur. MSF is extremely worried both for our abducted colleagues and for the populations to whom MSF teams had been providing medical aid.
Our thoughts are with the colleagues and families of those abducted. MSF is deeply concerned about their safety and is doing everything it can to determine their whereabouts and ensure their safe and swift return.
MSF is currently working to get more information about the circumstances and motives behind this abduction.
The French and the Dutch sections of MSF were recently expelled from Darfur. This expulsion did not relate to the other three sections of MSF remaining in Darfur at the time, the Belgian, Swiss and Spanish. These sections of MSF are now withdrawing from Darfur.