April 12, 2009 / 5:45 PM / 10 years ago

Darfur kidnappers demand retrial of Zoe's Ark "criminals"

KHARTOUM, April 12 (Reuters) - Kidnappers holding two aid workers hostage in Sudan’s Darfur region say they will kill them unless the French government agrees to retrial Zoe’s Ark "criminals" involved in the abduction of children from Chad.

Six members of a humanitarian group Zoe’s Ark were imprisoned in 2007 for flying children, aged between one and 10, out of Chad to Europe. They were sentenced to eight years hard labour by a Chadian court but were later pardoned.

"We demand France open the case of the Zoe’s Ark criminals and judge them through a fair court," an unnamed member of the group calling itself the Freedom Eagles of Africa told Reuters.

"If the French government is not serious in negotiations with us and does not respond to our request, we will kill the two aid workers," he said.

A Canadian and a French aid worker from Aid Medicale International (AMI) were seized from their compound in the south Darfur settlement of Ed el Fursan on April 4. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Khalid Abdel Aziz; Editing by Jon Boyle)



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