UNAMID peacekeepers patrol on the outskirts of a town in West Darfur
UNAMID peacekeepers patrol on the outskirts of a town in West DarfurReuters File

Russian foreign ministry has reportedly been made aware of a call asking for ransom to release two pilots, kindnapped by a local Sudanese gang from Darfur.

The two Russian pilots, who were kidnapped on 29 January, are working for UTAir, a firm employed by the UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), .

The kidnappers made contact with UNAMID [UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur] asking for a ransom to secure the release of the contractors. The Sudanese government, however, has warned against paying ransom to avoid recurrence of such incidents.

UN has not released any details on the identity of the two Russian pilots. However, they are reportedly working towards ensuring their release. 

"Unidentified militants on Jan. 29 kidnapped two Russian pilots in Zalingei [capital city of Central Darfur state] as they were on board a bus in the city," UNAMID spokesman Ashraf Eissa told The Anadolu Agency.

"The mission is currently working with the Sudanese authorities to secure the two pilots' release," he said, declining to give further details to ensure the pilots' safety.

The conflict in Darfur that has left over two lakh people dead and displaced around 2.5 million since 2003, according to UN figures.

UNAMID has been working in Darfur since early 2008 and currently maintains the largest peacekeeping mission, consisting of over two lakh peacekeepers from several nations.