Surely coming as no joke to the six members of a French foreign aid organization known as Zoe's Ark, a court in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena sentenced them to eight years each at hard labor. Their crime: attempting to "export" 103 children who were not, evidently, the Darfur orphans the group claimed. Rather, they were found to be Chadian children, many from stable families.
The organization claims not to be mercenary but humanitarian. They have yet to explain why they were essentially kidnaping well off children.
There are heavy political over- and under-tones to the saga. The entire region is embroiled in sectarian war, and France is a player in the diplomatic efforts to forge a truce. It is implied that there will be a deal cut to send the aid workers back to France.
Reuters S.A. files this report: