The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Tuesday that armed men kidnapped three of their workers in the restive eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The employees are said to be Congolese nationals and were sent to work in the town of Rutshuru in the southern province of Nord-Kivu.
“We’ve had no news from our three workers” since shortly after 9:00 am Tuesday, ICRC spokeswoman Elisabeth Cloutier told Agence France Presse, giving no further details. The armed men were not identified.
A military spokes person in Nord-Kivu, said he had no details, but added that the army always advised “aid workers to contact the military before going into zones where militia are still operating.”
Earlier in March, three Congolese workers for the NGO Save the Children were taken hostage for a week by unidentified kidnappers in Lubero, in central Nord-Kivu province.
The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) at the time condemned “the growing trend of attacks against humanitarian workers in eastern DRCongo.”
The area has suffered chronic unrest for two decades, fuelled by local armed groups and others committing ethnic-related violence over land and the region’s mineral wealth.