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Belgian pilot arrested in Chad accused of trafficking children
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09:40, October 29, 2007

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A Belgian pilot has been arrested in Chad for allegedly helping to transport 103 children to Europe for adoption, Belgian broadcaster VRT reported Sunday.

The pilot is reportedly in custody in the western Chadian city of N'Djamena. But the news has not been confirmed by the Belgian Foreign Ministry.

Nine French nationals and seven Spaniards were arrested in Chad on Saturday for allegedly trying to take children from the war zone in Darfur, western Sudan, to France and Belgium for adoption.

The suspects, working for French NGO L'arche de Zoe, were detained when they were putting the 103 children, aged between three and eight, on an airplane.

The French organization had spent months rounding up potential adoption parents on the Internet. The agency claimed to have wanted to "save 1,000 orphans from death."

Candidate foster parents allegedly paid thousands of euros for the right to adopt a child.

However, it has been alleged that not all the children were from Darfur and many were not even orphans.

Both the French government and the United Nations Children's Fund have condemned the French organization's action as "kidnapping." The Chadian authorities have accused L'arche de Zoe of being involved in human trafficking.

Source: Xinhua

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