N'DJAMENA (Reuters) - Six French aid workers were sentenced to eight years of hard labour each after a court in Chad found them guilty on Wednesday of trying to kidnap 103 children from the African country.
The court in the capital N'Djamena handed down the sentence on the fourth day of the trial of the six members of the French humanitarian group Zoe's Ark. They were arrested in October for trying to fly the 103 children, aged one to 10, to Europe.
The court also ordered the accused to pay compensatory damages of 40 million CFA francs (44,000 pounds) for each of the 103 children involved in the case, totalling 4.12 billion CFA francs ($9 million) in all.
The workers said they had been on a humanitarian mission to rescue orphans from Sudan's war-torn Darfur region, across Chad's eastern border. But most of the 103 children were found to have come from families in Chadian border villages who were persuaded to give up the infants with promises of education at local centers.