Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Europeans face mob anger over child 'abductions' in Chad

Children are pictured in an orphanage of Abeche, 27 October 2007, where the 103 children who were to fly to France by the charity organization Arche de Zoe (Zoe's Ark) are kept. Sixteen Europeans being held in Chad after a charity tried to fly more than 100 children from the central African nation to France may face charges, a Chadian minister said Saturday. The nine French nationals had organized an operation they said aimed to take 103 child orphans from the civil war in Sudan's western province of Darfur to France. The group was arrested 25 October 2007 in the eastern town of Abeche just before the plane was due to leave. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Abeche, Chad (AFP) Oct 30, 2007
Sixteen Europeans charged over the alleged abduction of 103 children faced abuse from angry protesters in eastern Chad Tuesday, as a row escalated in France over the government's failure to prevent their operation.

Nine French nationals, including six members of the charity Zoe's Ark and three journalists, were charged late Monday with "kidnapping minors" and "fraud" for trying to fly the children from the Chad-Darfur border to France, prosecutors in the eastern town of Abeche said.

Seven Spanish aircraft crew and two Chadian nationals were charged with complicity. Spain's foreign ministry said it "disagrees" with the charges and would seek the release of its nationals.

An angry mob of several dozen people gathered outside the court house in Abeche, calling the Europeans "thieves" and "killers" and accusing former colonial power France of being an "accomplice".

An AFP journalist saw the Europeans, in very low sprits, held in a dusty room in the Abeche court ahead of their transfer to the capital N'Djamena.

The French charity workers were wearing fireman's trousers and t-shirts marked "Children Rescue", the name of their operation. Spanish women among the flight crew fought to hold back tears.

Speaking in Corsica, French President Nicolas Sarkozy repeated that the charity workers "were wrong to do what they did" but said he would try to reach an accord with the Chadian authorities.

"We are going to try to find an arrangement to ensure that in this case no one loses face, and find out the exact truth about why they went to pick up these children and what for," Sarkozy said.

The Chadian authorities have accepted that the three French journalists cannot be "treated in the same fashion" as the charity's organisers,

Eric Chevalier, special advisor to French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, told RTL radio that the Chadian authorities had accepted the three French journalists cannot be "treated in the same fashion" as the charity's organisers.

But there is a row over the status of one of the three, France 3 television's Marie-Agnes Peleran, who was on compassionate leave at the time of the incident.

The Europeans were detained Thursday as they prepared to put the children on a chartered flight to France. The children were presented as orphans whose lives were at risk from civil war in Sudan's Darfur province.

Aid workers in Abeche have been trying to piece together the background of the children, aged one to 10, who were to be adopted or fostered by families in France each paying 2,800 to 6,000 euros (4,000 to 8,600 dollars).

The UN children's agency UNICEF has said it does not know if they are orphans but France's foreign ministry says it believes they are mostly Chadian and not Darfuris.

Raucous scenes broke out in the French parliament as the opposition demanded the government explain why it allowed the charity's operation to get so far.

"We have got ourselves into an impossible situation and I would like to know exactly what the French authorities' role was," former Socialist prime minister Laurent Fabius said.

It has been revealed that French military planes in Chad carried charity members on several occasions, while Le Figaro newspaper reported that a government official was due to "welcome" the children upon arrival in France.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon insisted "the foreign ministry did everything to persuade Zoe's Ark not to go ahead," warning it would be breaking the law, but that France and Chad were "tricked by an association that hid under a false name", Children Rescue.

Defence Minister Herve Morin told France 3 that the army was "only doing its job and respecting procedures" when it gave "logistical help" to the charity.

One of the would-be foster parents in France claimed that the only reason the airlift ended in recriminations was because the charity refused to pay a bribe to the local police chief.

"It ended this way because the police chief in Abeche was asking for a colossal sum, a huge bribe, to allow the plane to take off. But Mr Breteau (the founder of Zoe's Ark) refused to pay," said Delphine Charles.

Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

India's toilet champion sees human liberation in loos for all
New Delhi (AFP) Oct 29, 2007
For India's low-cost toilet champion, each new loo means freedom not just from rampant disease, but one more chance to liberate someone from doing the awful job of disposing of someone else's waste.

  • Acoustic Sensor Being Developed In New Anechoic Chamber
  • California fire victims get lush treatment in shelter
  • Rebuilding of Indonesia's Aceh nearly complete: officials
  • Study Shows Housing Development On The Rise Near National Forests

  • Climate controversy heats up Australian election
  • Drought in southeast US fuels battle over water resources
  • White House defends 'health benefits' of climate change
  • Like It Or Not, Uncertainty And Climate Change Go Hand-In-Hand

  • DMCii Satellite Imaging Helps Dramatically Reduce Deforestation Of Amazon Basin
  • NASA Views Southern California Fires And Winds
  • A Roadmap For Calibration And Validation
  • GeoEye Contract With ITT Begins Phased Procurement Of The GeoEye-2 Satellite

  • China launches counter-protest against Japan in island dispute
  • Outside View: Russia-EU energy fight thaws
  • Sustainable development a huge failure in Canada: audit
  • PetroChina's domestic listing breaks record

  • Staph-Killing Properties Of Clay Investigated
  • AIDS stunting southern Africa's prospects: Malawi president
  • After extinction fears, Botswana learns to live with AIDS
  • West Nile Virus Spread Through Nerve Cells Linked To Serious Complication

  • Dead Clams Tell Many Tales
  • Could Hairy Roots Become Biofactories
  • Dinosaur Deaths Outsourced To India
  • Ancient Amphibians Left Full-Body Imprints

  • Birth defects soar in polluted China
  • Time Spent In Car Drives Up Air Pollution Exposure
  • Sakhalin II Operator Vows To Fix Environmental Damage In Year
  • Space Sensors Shed New Light On Air Quality

  • Europeans face mob anger over child 'abductions' in Chad
  • India's toilet champion sees human liberation in loos for all
  • Video Game Shown To Cut Cortisol
  • Researchers Find Earliest Evidence For Modern Human Behavior In South Africa

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement