Moscow (AFP) -Two Russian pilots have been kidnapped in Sudan’s Darfur region, the Russian embassy in the country told AFP on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately we can confirm that two Russian pilots have been kidnapped in Zalingei in the Darfur province on January 29,” the spokesman for Russia’s embassy in Sudan, Artur Safukov, told AFP.
He declined to provide any other details, saying only that efforts were being made to secure the pair’s release.
Russian media reported that the two men were employed by Russia’s UTair company and were in Sudan on a contract for the UN mission in the country, UNAMID.
The UN mission was set up in 2007 to protect civilians and secure aid to Darfur, which has been wracked by conflict since 2003 when ethnic insurgents rebelled against the government complaining of marginalisation.
Relations between Khartoum and UNAMID have been strained since the mission tried to investigate reports that Sudanese soldiers raped 200 women in the village of Tabit in October.
On Sunday, six Bulgarian contractors working for the UN World Food Programme were freed after being held for a week by rebels in the southern Sudanese region of South Kordofan.