Three Sudanese Aid Workers Have Been Freed After More Than A Month In Captivity

The three men were abducted June 18 in North Darfur. They spent the next 32 days as captives.

1. Three humanitarian aid workers were freed Saturday after more than a month in captivity, the Associated Press reports.

AP Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran, UNAMID

2. The men were identified as Mohamed Abu Elgassem and Ahmed Elsayed, both from Irish humanitarian agency GOAL, and Mustafa Abdalla Adarge of UNICEF.

A tweet Saturday from GOAL expressed relief that the men had been released.

4. The three men were part of a group of 25 workers who were abducted June 18 by armed men in Kutum, a town about 75 miles from Al-Fashir, the state capitol of North Darfur.

Handout / Reuters

Elgassem, right, greets a friend at El Fasher airport in North Darfur Saturday.

According to GOAL, the workers were captured by an “unknown group” while driving near Kutum. Twenty of the captured workers were released the day of their abduction, the AP reports. Another two were freed a couple weeks later.

6. However, Elgassem, Elsayed, and Adarge remained in captivity for 32 days.

AP Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran, UNAMID

Members of the joint U.N. African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) escort the freed workers away from a helicopter at the El Fasher airport Saturday.

7. All three men were were unharmed after their time in captivity, according to a statement from UNAMID.

Handout / Reuters

Adarge, left, is welcomed by U.N. representatives Saturday.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas, of UNAMID, thanked the Sudanese government, as well Sudanese security and intelligence, for “their valuable assistance in the safe release of the humanitarian workers.” UNAMID did not provide additional information on the group that captured the men or how they were released.

8. Darfur has been plagued by violence for years.

Handout / Reuters

Adarge, center, after his release Saturday.

Insurgents rose up 11-years ago in Darfur, fighting against what they claimed were Arab elites dominating Sudan, the AP reports. The government then tried to recruit members of Arab tribes into militias, but has since been losing control over those militias. According to a January report, the militias have been the “main source of insecurity in Darfur for two years.”

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Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Jim Dalrymple II at

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