THE parents of Minorcan copilot Sergio Muñoz, part of the crew of the charter plane which is being held in Chad, said that they were very worried and hoped that the efforts of Spanish diplomats would lead to his release as soon as possible.
The seven crew members, all Spanish, are accused of collaborating in the illegal transport of 103 children from Chad to France. Members of Zoe's Ark, the French organisation which had chartered the plane, are also being held. Zoe's Ark said the operation offered a better life to orphans from Sudan's war torn Darfur region, many of whose people have fled over the border to camps in Chad. Some children, however, have said their parents are still alive and they were lured from their villages on the Chad-Sudan border with offers of sweets and biscuits. The French government has repeatedly condemned the operation and France's Ambassador to Chad said on Sunday those involved would have to face Chadian justice. France's Foreign Ministry issued a warning about Zoe's Ark in August, saying there was no guarantee the children were helpless orphans and casting doubt on the project's legality. Muñoz's parents said they had been unable to talk to their son but were being constantly briefed on the situation by the Spanish Foreign Ministry. The Balearic government and the central government's representative are also in constant touch with them.