Wednesday 19 December 2018

Kidnappers feared as bandits and thieves

Shane Hickey

THE group of eight heavily armed men who burst into the GOAL compound and kidnapped Sharon Commins and Hilda Kawuki are understood to be former members of a nomadic 'Janjaweed' group.

The Janjaweed, which means 'man with a gun on a horse', have become synonymous with banditry in the war-torn country and are feared for terrorising people in Darfur. They are frequently described as thieves and gangsters.

On July 3, the group overpowered security at the compound and took the two aid workers hostage before speeding off in waiting cars.

Negotiations soon began between tribal elders and government officials. Both the Irish and Sudanese governments refused to pay a ransom and talks progressed as to whether the men would face prosecution once the women were released.

It appears that it was through these negotiations that the ordeal was resolved. Irish ambassador to Egypt Gerry Corr travelled to Darfur earlier last week for negotiations with tribal elders.

It is not known if the kidnappers were granted immunity from prosecution in return for releasing the women.

Irish Independent

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