The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is Zoe's Ark. They get the award for the following.
N'DJAMENA, Chad - Chad charged six French citizens with kidnapping after they tried to fly out 103 African children from the remote border region with Sudan, bandaging them up to look injured and claiming they were Darfur orphans in need of rescue.What could make adults do this. Darfur is a horrendous tragedy but some of the children involved in this aren't from that region. Lets say it was a mistake, its a terrible one for children are being taken away from home, and possibly from their families.
The case threatens to impede aid efforts for hundreds of thousands of Darfur refugees by intensifying already deep local suspicions about the motives of humanitarian workers.
Seventeen Europeans have been detained since Thursday, when authorities blocked an attempt by a French group calling itself L'Arche de Zoe — Zoe's Ark — to fly the African children to Europe, where they were to be placed with host families.
The French Foreign Ministry and others have cast doubt on the claims by the little-known group that the children are Darfur orphans.
"According to initial information ... there seem to be many Chadian children and even many who are not orphans," French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Pascale Andreani told reporters in Paris on Tuesday.
Far more is at stake than the suspects' fates.The last thing Deby should do is enact some kind of crackdown. This was hopefully no more than an anomaly. Refugees from Darfur need help, and shouldn't be losers because of other people's stupidity.
More than 300,000 Darfur refugees are living in camps along the Sudanese border after fleeing four years of conflict that has left more than 200,000 people dead and driven 2.5 million from their homes. The remote region along the edge of the Sahara Desert is among the least hospitable anywhere.
Aid groups operate in Chad with permission from the government of President Idriss Deby, who has expressed outrage at the group's activities and may crack down on humanitarian efforts as a result.
A statement posted on the government's Web site said Deby was "shocked by the acts of Zoe's Ark, which is trafficking children under cover of humanitarian assistance."
The allegations are a major embarrassment for France, which was Chad's colonial master until 1960 and has deep ties to the volatile region. President Nicolas Sarkozy said Tuesday he told Deby by telephone that his government "condemns these activities."
The Zoe's Arc workers "were wrong to do what they did," Sarkozy said during a visit to the French island of Corsica. "Why were these children picked up and to what end? That's what we must know now."
The French group Zoe's Ark is today's Knucklehead of the Day.
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