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Captors release two civilian workers of UN mission in Sudan

RIA Novosti

05:50 14/12/2009 MOSCOW, December 14 (RIA Novosti) - Two civilian staff members of an international peacekeeping mission abducted in Darfur, Sudan, have been released after some 100 days in captivity, the UN has said.

Two employees of the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), a man and a woman, were abducted at gunpoint from their residence in the West Darfur state on August 29.

They "are now free and in the care of UNAMID," the UN news centre said late on Sunday.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the report.

"The Secretary-General commends the efforts of UNAMID and the Government of Sudan in securing the freedom of the abductees," a statement, released by his spokesperson, said.

UNAMID was established in 2007 to deal with the ongoing conflict in Darfur, which left more than 300,000 people dead and around 2.7 million displaced.

Since 2003, Chad and Sudan have accused each other of inciting conflict on their common border, especially in the west Sudanese region of Darfur.

Five peacekeepers from Rwanda were killed in two separate incidents in the troubled region on Friday and Saturday, bringing the overall number of UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives in Darfur to 22.

Russia has had a contingent of four Mi-8 helicopters and 120 personnel assisting UN operations in Sudan since April 2006. They are expected to stay - with regular rotations - for five or six years.

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