Captain Artjoms Nalbandjans, co-pilot Janis Gindra and mechanic Kaspars Reihlers of the United National Humanitarian Air Service were released on 8th December 2010 after being held captive for more than a month in the Darfur region of Sudan.
The three had been working for the World Food Programme to support efforts to feed thousands of people displaced by fighting between militias in the region, some of which are sponsored by the Khartoum government.
WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran
“We are so grateful that these three men have been freed and our thoughts are with their families in Latvia who will be reunited with them in the coming days. Now we can all celebrate their freedom.
“WFP has worked tirelessly with the government of Sudan and the government of Latvia to bring about their release.”
The crew were seized in the South Darfur capital of Nyala on 4th November 2010. They have now been taken to Khartoum where they will fly home to Latvia.
Update from the Latvia Government
The three Latvian citizens abducted in Sudan a month ago have now been taken to the UN World Food Program base in Nyalla by 6 p.m. Latvian time. According to the information at the disposal of the Foreign Ministry, the medical condition of the released hostages is stable and satisfactory. Their relatives and families have been informed that the hostage crisis is resolved. Currently the Foreign Ministry Coordination Centre is taking all action required to ensure a safe return home of the three Latvian citizens. The Foreign Minister Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis has informed the highest officials of the state about the release of the hostages.
Further more detailed information about the circumstances of the release will be available after the released Latvian citizens return home.
The Foreign Minister is grateful to the involved authorities for their co-operation towards a successful resolution of the crisis.