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16 U.N. Workers Abducted in Western Sudan

About 16 people working for the United Nations have been abducted in Sudan’s western Darfur region, a Sudanese official said Saturday. The state minister for foreign affairs, Najeeb al-Kheir Abdul Wahab, said the government was communicating “with all sides.” He gave no further details, and a U.N. official declined to comment on the report. Spokesmen for the rebels were unavailable for comment. Rebels took up arms against the government in Darfur last year, accusing it of neglecting the remote area bordering Chad and of arming Arab militias to loot and burn villages, a charge the government denies. The United Nations has warned of a humanitarian crisis in Darfur, where the conflict is believed to have killed about 10,000 people, displaced about 1 million and left several hundred thousand in danger of starvation. About 158,000 refugees have fled to Chad, where the U.N. agency for refugees says many are at risk of attack by militias, and malnutrition and disease are spreading. Full Story

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