Landmine clearance expert released by Sudan


Click to follow
The Independent Online

A British landmine clearance expert has been released by the Sudanese authorities after being arrested on the disputed border with South Sudan.

Chris Fielding and three colleagues - a Norwegian, a South African and a South Sudanese - were held in the oil-rich region of Heglig last month.

Sudan accused the men of carrying out military activities for South Sudan, but their employers insisted they were working with the United Nations to clear mines.

The four were freed in the Sudanese capital Khartoum yesterday in a move brokered by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.

Foreign Office Minister David Lidington said: "I welcome the release of the de-mining team.

"British officials have met Mr Fielding and can confirm that he is healthy and was well treated by the Sudanese while he was in detention."

South Sudan won independence from Sudan last July after a bloody civil war lasting decades.

But the two countries have engaged in serious fighting in recent weeks amid continuing disputes about where the border lies and how oil revenues should be shared.