A rescue team sent to free the 18 hostages of the African Union were themselves been kidnapped by Darfur rebels in Western Sudan on Monday. As a result, the rebels currently hold some 40 cease-fire monitoring group of the AU.
The team, which included one American observer, was taken by a splinter rebel faction on Sunday. The faction is demanding a seat at peace talks in the Nigerian capital Abuja. It had split earlier this year from the Justice and Equality Movement.
Noureddine Mezni, spokesman for the AU, told reporters that 18 hostages had been released on Sunday night when the rescue team was captured. Those released were reportedly returning to their camp in the Sudanese-Chadian town of Tine. Mezni added that it appeared as if only those members of the team who were Chadian had been released.