23 March 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the release of one United Nations staff member who was taken hostage in Niger late last year and reiterated his call for the freeing of two others, including an envoy to the country, Canadian Robert Fowler. “The Secretary-General is pleased to know that Mr. Soumana Mounkaila, one of the three UN staff members who was abducted in Niger on 14 December 2008, has been released unharmed,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.“The Secretary-General renews his call on those holding Robert Fowler and Louis Guay to release them both without any further delay,” the spokesperson added.Through the statement, Mr. Ban also expressed appreciation for efforts made by Governments and individuals in the region to help secure the release of the staff members, who had gone missing while driving near the West African country’s capital Niamey. read more