See also:
» 07.06.2010 - Sudan protests Uganda non-invitation of al-Bashir
» 28.05.2010 - "al-Bashir would be arrested in SA" - Zuma
» 17.05.2010 - Sudan's Islamist leader Turabi arrested
» 26.02.2010 - Darfur mission receives helicopters
» 24.02.2010 - Ban calls for definitive settlement in Darfur
» 10.02.2010 - Sudan-Chad agree to end wars
» 09.02.2010 - ICC drops charges against a Darfurian rebel
» 04.02.2010 - Additional genocide charge for al-Bashir

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Chad abduction embarases France

afrol News, 2 November - The abduction of 103 children in Chad's Abeche town has generated tension in France, with the government condemning and distancing itself from a crime committed by the French Zoé Ark charity.

The French charity was caught red-handed trying to illegally airlift the alleged orphans to France.

Six of the charity's workers and two Chadian have been charged with kidnapping of minors and fraud. Also facing charges are seven Spanish air crew and three French journalists.

Aid workers are yet to establish the identity of all the abducted children, but the issue had caused both embarrassment and tension in France.

Some opposition parliamentarians have already politicised the issue, shaming the French Foreign Affairs Secretary, Rama Yade, asking him to clarify claims that the government and the army were privy to the operation but failed to avert it.

The French military contingent in Chad [Epervier] was accused of transporting to the eastern part of the country.

But Yade denied such claims as "unfounded and baseless."

Chadian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Koulamallah, questioned why people want to take advantage over Africans, claiming that to bail them out of poverty.

French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has phoned the Chadian leader, Idriss Derby, requesting the release of the three journalists because they did not conspire in the alleged abductions.

Sarkozy's office said the Chadian leader agreed to secure their release.

Spanish authorities have also called for the release of the air crew.

On Wednesday, Abeche residents flocked the streets to protest against the kidnapping.

Meanwhile, international agencies have proven that the abducted children are not indeed orphans. A joint report released by the Red Cross and UN agencies said 91 of the children have one parent.

Most of them [21 girls and 82 boys between one and ten years] hailed from Chadian villages close to the Sudanese border, although their nationalities could not be established. This dispels Zoé workers' claim that the children came from Darfur, Sudan.

None of the children suffered from serious health conditions, but of them had been treated for small injuries, agencies confirmed.

The alleged kidnappers have been flown to the Chadian capital today by a military helicopter. This was ruled by the country's Supreme Court.

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