Sudan paid ransom for Latvian hostages

  • 2011-04-19
  • TBT Staff

The three pilots were working for the UN humanitarian air service in the Darfur region of Sudan. (photo: GM helicopters)

NYALA -- Sudanese media has reported that the country's authorities paid a ransom of more than 150,000 USD for the release of nine foreigners, three of whom are Latvian aid workers that were kidnapped in November last year. 

The "Sudan Tribune" on April 17 quoted a local court as saying that the ransom was paid, though details of the payment are sketchy and there is no word on whether the hostages have been released.

The Latvian Foreign Ministry has denied making any ransom payments.

"With regard to the information launched by the mass media, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to communicate that Latvia, following a Government decision, has not paid any ransom for the abducted Latvian pilots. The MFA would also like to indicate that it cannot provide any comments on the information in the Sudanese media, because no matters of this kind have ever been negotiated with the Sudanese authorities," the ministry said in a press release. 

Three pilots from a Latvian helicopter company that had been delivering aid in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region were kidnaped by a group of unidentified gunmen from a minibus in Nyala. The three workers had been employed by Latvia's GM Helicopters.

GM Helicopters is the Latvian Company providing helicopter services for a variety of purposes. In Sudan they are working for the UN humanitarian air service, contracted to the World Food Program.