- (Photo: Samaritan's Purse)
An aid worker for Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse was released Monday after being held hostage for 105 days in Sudan.
The 35-year-old employee, Flavia Wagner, was exhausted but in good health, reported a spokesman for Samaritan's Purse. She is currently in Khartoum.
In May, Wagner, another Samaritan's Purse employee and a Sudanese driver were abducted after their two-vehicle convoy was stopped by eight armed men 15 miles southwest of Nyala in Sudan's Darfur region. The three hostages were part of a ten-person team engaged in educational assessments in local communities in the region.
On May 25, seven days after the kidnapping, the two Sudanese men were released unharmed and without explanation in Thur, Darfur.
Wagner, however, remained in captivity but was allowed to contact her family and Samaritan's Purse staff on several occasions.
For the past three months, Samaritan's Purse worked with U.S. and Sudanese government officials to secure the international aid worker's release.
“We thank God that Flavia is safe and free,” commented Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, following Wagner's release. “We appreciate the help of the government of Sudan and the United States government.
“People around the world have been praying for her safety and her release. Today, those prayers have been answered,” he added.
According to Samaritan's Purse, Wagner said she is looking forward to being reunited with her family in the United States. It was not immediately clear, however, when she would return home.
On Monday, Wagner was greeted by her co-workers and international security personnel as she arrived at the airport in Khartoum.
Samaritan's Purse, which provides immediate response to the physical and spiritual needs of individuals in crisis situations, has 548 national and expat staff in Sudan.
The Boone, N.C.-based nonprofit organization works in more than 100 countries around the world and has offices in Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Ireland, and Hong Kong.
Graham, the group's president, is the prominent son of renowned preacher Billy Graham.