ADRA Appeals for Release of Abducted Workers in Sudan
SILVER SPRING, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 25, 2005--The Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA) is appealing for the release of three agency workers that were abducted at gunpoint along with ADRA project vehicles on December 16th, 2004, while traveling through the then rebel-controlled area of Labado on their way from Khartoum to West Darfur, Sudan.
Traveling in a humanitarian convoy, the three workers were part of a larger ADRA well drilling team carrying equipment and supplies to rehabilitate 65 damaged and abandoned wells and construct 45 new wells. The Humanitarian Aid department of the European Commission (ECHO) funds this project.
ADRA's convoy had official permission to deliver the aid to Darfur. Each of the three men, Sudanese nationals, are committed to humanitarian work and were excited to be headed out to Darfur because of the tremendous needs there.
"We are alarmed and deeply concerned for the safety of our workers. We don't know exactly who abducted them, and we've received no information on their whereabouts or condition. ADRA is not political; it provides aid where it's needed the most," Byron L. Scheuneman, ADRA International senior vice president and chief financial officer, states.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the men who were taken as well as their families. We're appealing directly to whoever is holding them to release them, unharmed, on humanitarian grounds. Water is the least covered sector in all of Darfur, and it's senseless to continue to hold these men and equipment. Water is urgently needed in the region," he continued.
The planned water wells will benefit 80,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and host community members in West Darfur, an area hit hard by the civil unrest that has left at least 1.6 million people struggling to survive through the three Darfur states. ADRA's office in Khartoum is working closely with the United Nations to secure the release of its workers and is grateful for the assistance they're providing.
Operating in such a complex and difficult environment is not without risk, and ADRA appreciates every effort to increase security for both humanitarian workers and the affected population.
ADRA has been working in Sudan for more than 25 years and in Darfur since June of 2004. Present in more than 120 countries worldwide, ADRA provides individual and community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age or ethnicity. Additional information about ADRA can be found at www.adra.org.
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