Abducted Darfur Aid Worker Returns Unharmed

A man employed to deliver relief assistance to Sudan’s conflict-ridden Darfur region returned Friday, 48 hours after being abducted en route from a food nutrition center, reported Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC).

Ahmed Abaker, a local driver for a Darfur relief consortium including CRWRC, was taken at gun point around 3:25 p.m. on Wednesday in Shaba, West Darfur. According to a report published on CRWRC’s website, Abaker returned safely Friday morning, arriving on foot in Sanidadi.

“He appears to be very tired after walking some distance, but seems thankfully unharmed,” said Nick Archer, the coordinator for the Darfur relief consortium, in the CRWRC report. Abaker has been a driver for the CRWRC-affiliated consortium for several years despite the hazards and stresses of the position.

U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland recently reported that large parts of Darfur have been experiencing a "meltdown of law and order," with rebel groups getting new weapons from abroad and across the Chad border and the government arming Arab militias that attack non-Arab villages, raping and killing. Egeland warned Wednesday that the country could face a major humanitarian disaster within weeks unless there was a true cease-fire and a renewed effort to reach a lasting peace.

According to CRWRC, Abaker was driving six passengers back from a food center on Wednesday when his vehicle was confronted by five armed men. The men ordered everyone out of the vehicle and stole their personal property. The armed men then instructed Abaker back into the driver’s seat, shot two bullets in the direction of the passengers and drove off. The passengers were unharmed. Passengers from a second vehicle that was also returning from the food center managed to turn around and escape.

“Out of the entire pool of drivers, I remember two people as being dependable and just all around fine people, and Ahmed Abaker was one of them,” remarked Elly Dalmaijer, who worked for CRWRC in Darfur with her husband, Jack in 2005.

After hearing about the abduction on Thursday morning, CRWRC urged its supporters to lift the situation up in prayer.