A group of Europeans embroiled in a child kidnapping scandal in Chad have been in court again today. While some of their fellow detainees have been allowed to leave the country, 10 Europeans remain: French charity activists, a Belgian pilot and some members of a Spanish air crew.
There were scenes of joy as France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and seven of those who had been held arrived back in Europe. The French president flew to the central African country on a lightning mission to collect them. Four Spanish air hostesses and three French journalists were allowed out, including Marc Garmirian.
He was investigating the organisation “Zoe’s Arc” which says it intended to place orphans from Darfur with European families for foster care. “They remain convinced of the rightfulness of the mission they had given themselves,” he said. “They have shown an amateurism that had horrendous consequences for the children.”
Officials have said many of the youngsters at the centre of the story are from Chad and are not orphans. The headlines in France however are dominated by Sarkozy’s dramatic mission, with cheers and sneers aimed at the country’s president.