TWO Sudanese aid workers working on the ground with GOAL in the war-torn Darfur region are missing after being abducted at gunpoint.
The Irish aid agency says it is working with the relevant authorities in Sudan to locate the workers following the incident last Wednesday.
It comes after the abduction of Irish aid worker Sharon Commins – kidnapped in Darfur in 2009 – and who criticised GOAL after she was freed for its handling of security arrangements.
Three relief workers employed by GOAL in Darfur and a Sudanese national working with another agency were abducted by an unknown group while travelling by vehicle on a routine assignment close to Kutum town in North Darfur.
The driver of the vehicle, a GOAL staff member, was later released, but the other three aid workers – two from GOAL and one from a local Sudanese agency, and who are all Sudanese nationals – remain missing.
GOAL released a brief statement yesterday confirming that all the relevant authorities have been informed and are working with GOAL's crisis management team and team in country to determine the next course of action.
GOAL's chief operations officer, Jonathan Edgar, said the agency remained in contact with the families of the staff members involved.
Violence in Darfur has reached the highest point in a decade, with abductions by criminal gangs increasingly common.
Statistics from the Aid Worker Security Database show that attacks are increasing steadily, with 442 aid workers falling victim to some form of violence.