Red Cross: French staffer kidnapped in Chad in November has been freed

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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PARIS, France - A French agronomist who was kidnapped in Chad in November was freed Saturday in Sudan after 89 days in captivity, International Committee of the Red Cross reported.
The organization said employee Laurent Maurice "is tired but appears to be in good health." The agronomist was kidnapped Nov. 9 by armed men while working in the village of Kawa near Chad's eastern border with Sudan. He had been in the African nation for 10 months before being abducted, the statement said.
Spokeswoman Carla Haddad says 37-year-old Maurice was freed Saturday in al-Geneina, in Sudan's western Darfur region.
She said the organization had not paid any ransom and expressed her thanks to "the Sudanese authorities among all other parties who helped secure this release."
Haddad declined to provide further details on his release, saying it could jeopardize attempts to secure the freedom of another French staff member, Gauthier Lefevre.
Lefevre was taken hostage in western Darfur Oct. 22 by an unidentified group. Haddad declined to say whether both had been held together or even whether they had the same captors.
She added that Maurice is on his way to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner thanked "all those who were tirelessly mobilized" to win Maurice's freedom and said he hoped Lefevre would have a similar "happy ending."
"Taking humanitarian aid organizations and their workers, to whom I pay homage, is unacceptable," Kouchner said in a separate statement.

Organizations: Red Cross, International Committee of the Red Cross

Geographic location: Chad, Sudan, Darfur PARIS France Kawa Al-Geneina Khartoum

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