Two Turkish citizens, identified as engineers working for a Turkish electricity company, and their Sudanese driver were kidnapped on Tuesday in Darfur, Sudan, Sudanese media reported. Darfur Governor Minni Arko Minawi tweeted that he “regretted” the kidnapping and called on the unknown perpetrators to safely return them.
Diplomatic sources told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the Turks were returning home from work in al-Fashir in North Darfur when they were stopped by unknown gunmen. The car was taken to another location, and the driver was beaten by gunmen. The driver was later released and treated at a hospital for injuries. The driver told authorities that the abductors did not ask for ransom and had no “problems” with Turks but would keep them as hostages “until the perpetrators of attacks on tribes are captured.”
A company official speaking to Daily Sabah also confirmed that the incident is not related to company's commercial activities but rather ongoing internal clashes in the region.
Darfur is still recovering from a civil war that broke out in 2003, while clashes between tribes are rampant. At least 48 people were killed in tribal clashes over the weekend. Sudan, overall, faces uncertainty after a military coup in October. Protests against the coup have killed scores of people since then.
Local authorities had earlier announced that four people were killed and three others were injured in al-Fasher in attacks by unknown gunmen. An angry mob gathered outside the governorate calling for the capture of the perpetrators, while authorities later announced a suspect had been detained.
Turkey and Sudan maintain close economic ties, with a bilateral trade volume of $480 million as of 2020 as $2 billion set as a target for the next five years. The African country hosts a large number of Turkish companies in several sectors, while Turkey’s total investment in Sudan has amounted to $314 million. The two countries recently announced that they have reached a deal on boosting Sudan’s electricity production through power-generating ships operated by Turkish companies in the Red Sea.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry and Khartoum embassy were working with Sudanese authorities to ensure the release of the Turks, AA reported.
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