A Day After Aid Worker's Kidnapping in Pakistan, Italian Aid Worker Abducted in Sudan

On April 17, 2010, thousands took to the streets of Rome to call for the release of several aid workers arrested by the Afghan government over an alleged assasination plot. Photo by: Elena Pasquini

As Pakistani police and colleagues of kidnapped American aid worker Warren Weinstein await news from his abductors, another aid worker was kidnapped in Sudan.

Francesco Azzara, an Italian logistics specialist working for medical aid group Emergency, was abducted at around 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14, in the town of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state. Emergency has been operating a pediatric center in the town since July 2010.  

Azarra was reportedly driving to the airport with two Sudanese colleagues when armed men stopped his vehicle and forcibly took him away.

Meanwhile, no group has yet claimed responsibility for Weinstein’s kidnapping. Pakistani police say they have no leads on the abduction.

Weinstein, the director of a consulting firm who works with U.S. Agency for International Development competitiveness projects in Pakistan, was taken from his house in Lahore on Saturday, Aug. 13. This is despite the fact that he has three security guards on duty that time. The guards are reportedly former commandos hired through a private company, who were distracted and overpowered by Weinstein’s six heavily armed abductors.

The two kidnapping incidents, which happened only a day apart, highlight the security risks that aid workers on the ground face.

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About the author

  • Che

    Che de los Reyes

    As a senior staff writer, Che focuses on international development breaking news coverage as well as interviews and features. Prior to joining Devex, Che handled communications for local and international development NGOs and government institutions in the Philippines.

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