Christopher Stokes, General Director for the Belgium section of MSF, comments on the abduction of three international staff members in Darfur, Sudan

Christopher Stokes, General Director for the Belgium section of MSF

Yesterday evening, armed men entered the MSF compound in Serif Umra, took 5 MSF staff hostage, abducted 5 MSF staff. 2 immediately released, 2 Sudanese staff were immediately released. The 3 international staff, one Italian doctor, one Canadian nurse, and one French coordinator of the medical team are still held hostage for the moment.

We were able to have one direct contact with one of the members of our team. They're in good health. They were being reasonably well treated, and no violence occurred during the kidnapping. We hope to have contact as soon as possible, that's what we're going to do today.

Last week, we were ordered to evacuate half of our projects, and there are three sections remained able to continue their operations and fully authorized to do so.

Medecins Sans Frontieres Switzerland, Spain and Belgium, and now we have to basically due to the deteriorated security conditions, withdraw our teams from the field. And there's only a minimum skeletal team left in the field, but mainly there to trying facilitate the liberation of our colleagues.

Today we're not in the position to continue our operations for all the MSF sections in Darfur, there either, we've had been expelled. We have to suspend for security reason now. It was already we were very worried and we express publicly, and very angry about the fact that we've been expelled last week. We have to reduce our existence radically and drastically in the south of Darfur and in the west, and this week, now it's the rest of MSF's operation and projects. So I think the situation for the population is extremely. We're extremely worried for them that what's going to happen now.