Africa

German aid workers kidnapped in Darfur are freed

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Two kidnapped German aid workers have been released in the Sudanese region of Darfur, German government officials say.

The two men, aged 34 and 52, were abducted five weeks ago from their compound in Nyala, southern Darfur.

The men are well and on their way to the Sudanese capital Khartoum, the German foreign minister told reporters.

No further details about the men's release, or their kidnap, have been given by the authorities.

The men worked for the German state-run development agency Technisches Hilfswerk (THW).

"I'm very happy and relieved over the release of the two THW staffers," said German Interior Minister Thomas Maizere, who oversees the agency.

Kidnap wave

The two Germans were taken from the THW office on 22 June by seven men.

There has been a wave of kidnappings in Darfur targeting foreign aid workers in recent years.

According to the UN, an estimated 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur and more than 2.6 million displaced since ethnic rebels took up arms in 2003.

The Sudanese government, however, says such figures are a massive exaggeration.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes and genocide committed in Darfur - charges he strongly denies.

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