View Full Version : Mother of Chad 'kidnap' children speaks out 09-Nov-2007

9 november 2007, 21:03
Mother of Chad 'kidnap' children speaks out 09-Nov-2007



Chad frees more 'kidnap' suspects

The case has provoked widespread anger
in Chad [AFP]

The Chadian authorities have ordered the release of four Europeans detained as part of an alleged attempt to fly 103 African children to Europe, legal sources said.

The four had been charged as accomplices of six French members of the Zoe's Ark charity, who allegedly organised the operation to fly the children from Chad.

Three Spanish flight crew members were released on Friday and driven out of a prison in the capital, N'Djamena, and taken to the city's main courts to pick up their belongings.

A Belgian pilot arrested in the case was also set to be freed, Belgium's foreign ministry said.

The freed Spanish, still wearing their crew uniforms, said "thank you, thank you" to journalists who greeted them at the court.

The Belgian pilot, 74-year-old Jacques Wilmart, suffered heart problems on Thursday and was taken to the French military base in N'Djamena for treatment, his lawyer said.

Mother speaks out

In video

Watch Al Jazeera's interview with the mother of two of the children here

Spanish media reported the releases followed testimony given by the detained leader of the Zoe's Ark group, Eric Breteau, who said the released Europeans were not involved in the group's activities in Chad.

Chad says the group did not have permission to take the children out of the country.

Ayash Fadl, the mother of two children allegedly involved in the case, told Al Jazeera:

"I was told that my children would be taken to another town only to learn Arabic and study the Koran. I could visit them every week."

"I wasn't told they would be taken to another place."

The French organisation has said the children were orphans from Sudan's Darfur region and it had hoped to fly them to safety to Europe for foster care with families there.

However, United Nations officials say almost all of the children came from villages on the Chad-Sudan border and had at least one living parent.

The Spanish crew were the second group of Europeans from the original 17, who were detained in late October in eastern Chad close to the border with Darfur, to be freed.

On Sunday four Spanish female flight attendants and three French journalists were released by Chad and flown back to Europe with Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president.

He had travelled to Chad to discuss the case with Idriss Derby, his counterpart.

On Friday, the Chadian government said it was to investigate reports that at least 74 more children were flown to France in September without their parents' knowledge, a senior judicial official said.