Kidnapped Red Cross staff freed in DRC

Published by IGIHE
On 16 June 2017 saa 10:13
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The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday two staff kidnapped when armed men attacked their convoy in the troubled eastern Democratic Republic of Congo last week had been released.

The workers were abducted on June 7 between Kirumba and Beni in North Kivu province while on a humanitarian mission, prompting a Red Cross appeal for their immediate release.

A Red Cross statement said the pair were freed on Thursday morning.

Spokesperson Christine Cipolla said the organisation was relieved their ordeal was over but deplored an abduction she said threatened humanitarian work.

An ICRC spokesperson told AFP its operations remained suspended in the region, where it has been aiding 5 000 families, following the abduction of the two, whose nationality has not been revealed.

"We have suspended our movements in North Kivu province until further notice ... awaiting security guarantees," the spokesperson said.

The eastern DRC has been rocked by more than 20 years of armed conflict among both domestic and foreign armed groups, fuelled by struggle for control of lucrative mineral resources as well as ethnic and property disputes.

North Kivu has served as a base for rebels fighting with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) since 1994 and sees frequent kidnappings.