For Immediate Release
April 30, 2008
The faith-based organization TEAM, located in the United States , announces that it has arranged for an aircraft operated by a medical non-governmental organization in Chad to fly to Bardai to receive Steve Godbold, who has been detained by rebel forces since October 10, 2007. TEAM also offers to allow a representative of the international media to accompany this flight to observe the process.
On April 28, 2008 the President of the MDJT, Mr. Choua Dazi, stated in an interview published by Liberté sans frontières and posted at www.dabio.net that Mr. Godbold is “free” and that the MDJT is seeking a means to facilitate his departure from the Tibesti region of Chad.
Mr. Godbold is a missionary with TEAM and has lived and worked in Chad for a number of years. On October 10, 2007 he was on a humanitarian mission, delivering equipment for water wells in the Tibesti when he was detained by MDJT forces in Zoumri. Mr. Godbold has been in the custody of the MDJT ever since.
During this period, spokesmen for the MDJT have promised several times to release Mr. Godbold:
* On October 18, 2007 Mr. Dazi told a reporter from RFI “This is the beginning of our investigation. I think that in a week’s time it will be decided. If he is innocent, then he will be freed, no problem.”
* On October 24, 2007 Mr. Dazi told a reporter from Reuters “In two or three days we will conclude (our investigation) and then we’ll see what preparations we can make to free him”.
* On November 5, 2007 Mr. Hissein Yaya Barka, Assistant General Secretary of the MDJT, told a French website “After a two-week investigation we have made the decision to liberate (Mr. Godbold) in the coming days.”
* On January 8, 2008 Mr. Barka issued a press release that said “On November 5 th , 2007, we made the decision to release him (Godbold)”.
* During this time, leaders of the MDJT also made private promises to a large humanitarian organization to release Mr. Godbold.
TEAM issued this statement today: “Although we do not understand why the MDJT did not follow through on its earlier public promises to release Steve, we appreciate and respect Mr. Dazi’s announcement yesterday that Steve is ‘free’. We have arranged for an airplane from a medical NGO based at a hospital in Chad to fly to Bardai as quickly as possible so that the MDJT can complete its commitment and return Steve to freedom. The airplane will go to Bardai on Friday, May 2. We call on Mr. Dazi and the rest of the leadership of the MDJT to honor their promise and their commitment and send Steve to Bardai to meet this plane.” TEAM also confirmed that it is seeking a member of the international media to accompany the flight as a guarantee of transparency and good faith in the process.
For further information, contact:
Keith Rascher, TEAM