UN Staffers Kidnapped in Darfur

Peacekeeping troops establish contact, plead for their release
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2009 1:10 PM CDT
General Martin Luther Agwai, Force Commander of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur, disembarks from a UN helicopter, July 21, 2008, during a visit to North Darfur, Sudan.   (AP Photo/Stuart Price, Albany Associates)

(Newser) – Two staffers supporting peacekeeping operations in Darfur were kidnapped from their homes this morning, the AP reports. The joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force has established contact with the abductors. “We are here to protect civilians," the head of the mission told them. "We are not part of the conflict.” A spokesman declined to identify the kidnappers, save as an "armed group." The development comes a week after a top UN official pronounced the Darfur war over.