Norway made to wait to meet captured aid worker

Norwegian officials have been made to wait to meet with John Sørbø, the Norwegian aid worker captured by the Sudanese army last week.

Norway made to wait to meet captured aid worker
Foto: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/NTB Scanpix


John Sørbø was one of four foreigners arrested in the Heglig oilfield area of southern Sudan last week. The aid workers were assessing the impact of recent fighting between Sudan and South Sudan.
The British embassy said on Tuesday it had met with one of its citizens allegedly detained by Sudan's army along the tense southern border and confirmed that he was is in good condition. Chris Fielding has been held for at least three days along with Sørbø, South African Thabo Siave and an unidentified South Sudanese.
Sudan's army said on Saturday it arrested them in the Heglig oil region as they collected "war debris for investigation," and suggested the men were working in support of South Sudan in its "aggression" against the north.
Their employers say they were on a demining mission on the South Sudanese side of the border.
Diplomats said they had been pushing for access to the captives, who are being held at a military facility in Khartoum.
"We had consular access and he is in good health," a British embassy spokesperson told AFP.
Norwegian Ambassador Jens-Petter Kjemprud said he was still waiting for a meeting with Sørbø, but has been told that the captive's health is good.
Jan Ledang, country director for the Norwegian People's Aid mission in South Sudan, identified Sørbø as one of his employees.
A South African demining company said two of its workers were among the group abducted by the Sudanese military while on a UN landmine clearance contract in South Sudan.
The ambassadors of Norway, Britain and South Africa met on Monday with a senior foreign ministry official, ministry spokesman Al-Obeid Meruh said in a statement.
He said the ambassadors were told their citizens are under investigation because they illegally crossed the border into a military area, and had military equipment with them.
Nationalist feeling has intensified in Sudan after South Sudan seized and occupied the north's main Heglig oilfield for 10 days, a move that coincided with Sudanese air strikes against the South.
It was the most serious fighting since the South's independence last July, and raised fears of a wider war.
Sudan declared on April 20th that its troops had forced the Southern soldiers out of Heglig, but the South said it withdrew of its own accord in line with international calls.

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Sudan summons Norway envoy after vote protest

Sudan summoned Norway's ambassador on Tuesday to protest the country's harsh criticism of last week's elections, which are expected to give President Omar al-Bashir another term in office, as neither "free" nor "fair".

Sudan summons Norway envoy after vote protest
Norwegian ambassador Morten Aaslund meets the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. Photo: European Union.
Morton Aaslund on Monday issued a statement along with his counterparts from the UK and the US in which the three countries said they regretted Khartoum's "failure to create a free, fair and conducive elections environment."
In a statement summoning the ambassadors to Sudan's foreign ministry, Khartoum labelled the criticism "blatant interference in the internal affairs of the country."
"The elections are a purely Sudanese affair decided by the Sudanese, and no other party has the right to intervene or express an opinion," a statement said.
The European Union representative in Khartoum was also summoned, the ministry said, without giving details.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini had said before voting began that the election could not produce a credible result, citing the ruling National Congress Party's failure to attend a meeting with the opposition to
arrange a national dialogue.
Bashir proposed the dialogue last January as a way to resolve the country's economic woes and the conflicts on its peripheries.
The foreign ministry said Sudan was committed to resuming the dialogue after the election results are announced and a new government is formed.
The polls for the presidency and state and national parliaments were boycotted by the mainstream opposition.
Thirteen little-known candidates are challenging Bashir, after two others withdrew after voting got underway, complaining of irregularities in the electoral process. Results are expected on Monday.
Bashir, 71, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the western region of Darfur.