Relief after kidnapped Mali aid workers released


Malian children. Photo supplied

from RUDD KONTE in Bamako, Mali
Mali Bureau
BAMAKO, (CAJ News) – THERE is a sigh of relief after two aid workers abducted earlier this month in northern Mali were unconditionally released.

Militants had kidnapped the staff members from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on March 4 on the road between Gao and Kidal.

“We are incredibly relieved that our colleagues are back with us,” said Antoine Grand, the head of the ICRC’s delegation in Mali.

The two are to be reunited with their families soon.

“We are grateful to everyone who has worked so hard from the outset to facilitate their unconditional and swift release,” Grand said.

The ICRC did not disclose the names or nationalities of the two staff members, who were released on Sunday. This is in order to protect their privacy.

“We are not able to provide any detail about the abduction, captivity or release of our staff,” the agency stated.

ICRC stated it is a strictly impartial, neutral and independent organization with an exclusively humanitarian mandate.

“Our staff must always be respected and protected,” it stated.

“Acts such as this jeopardize our humanitarian work and can have a significant impact on the humanitarian services we provide to vulnerable communities affected by conflict.”

Patrick Youssef, the ICRC’s regional director for Africa, said the organisation would continue its humanitarian activities working closely with the people affected by the conflict and violence in Mali while also ensuring staff members were able to operate safely in a region where many people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

The ICRC has been present in the West African country for 32 years.

Mali has for years suffered rebellion by Islamists.

– CAJ News




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