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30 May 2012 13:22
Refugees from South Kordofan, Sudan, gather around a small TV set in the Yida refugee camp in Unity State, South Sudan. (AP)
Patrick Noonan was working for the World Food Programme (WFP) as a logistician in Nyala in southern Darfur when he was captured.
“The situation in Darfur remains volatile and insecurity is an issue that impedes the work of the humanitarian community serving the region,” WFP said on Wednesday.
Darfur rebels took up arms against the central government in 2003, complaining that Khartoum had neglected the remote region. Khartoum mobilised troops and mostly-Arab militias to quell the unrest.
Fighting has died down since its peak in 2003 and 2004 but banditry, tribal conflict and clashes between government troops and rebels have continued to plague the region.
WFP said 40 humanitarian workers had been abducted since 2009.
The joint UN/AU peacekeeping force stationed in Darfur has been repeatedly caught in the crossfire during almost a decade of fighting between government troops and insurgents.
In February, rebels detained 49 international peacekeepers but released them hours later.
The International Criminal Court has charged Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir with masterminding genocide and other crimes in the region, which he denies.
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