Chad: Kidnapped ‘orphans’ say they have parents

Click here: Dawn – Kidnapped ‘orphans’ say they have parents

…In a joint statement, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and Unicef said 91 of the children had spoken of coming from a “family environment with at least one adult in a parental role”.“Therefore they cannot be considered to be orphans,” ICRC spokeswoman Anna Schaaf told AFP in Geneva. Schaaf said questioning of the children suggested that most of them were in fact Chadians.

…Chad’s security forces have arrested 19 people since a small French charity, Zoe’s Ark, attempted to fly the children to France, believing they were orphans from the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur across the desert border. Nine French nationals — six members of the charity and three journalists — face a forced labour sentence on charges of kidnapping and extortion, while seven-member Spanish flight crew are charged with complicity.

A Belgian pilot of 75 was also charged on Wednesday because he had flown the children from the border settlement of Adre to the main eastern town of Abeche, where the Zoe’s Ark people were arrested on October 25…The Belgian pilot has been jailed in N’Djamena, while the other arrested Europeans are still in police custody in Abeche.

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