Darfur gunmen kidnap 18 African Union workers


Armed men have taken 18 African Union personnel hostage in Sudan's troubled Darfur region, a day after the first AU soldiers were killed in the remote area, an AU official said today.

"18 (AU) personnel including military observers, civilian police, a U.S. representative and a Justice and Equality Movement (rebel) respresentative are held hostage today," the acting head of the AU in Sudan, Jean Baptiste Natama, told reporters.

He said they were being held in the Chadian-Sudanese border town of Tine in Darfur, but there was no further information about who the kidnappers were or what they wanted.

Yesterday, two AU soldiers and two civilians contractors were killed in an ambush the AU blamed on the main Darfur rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA).