According to the BBC, Eight Red Cross workers have been kidnapped in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The BBc reports that the team which includes seven Congolese and one Swiss national were kidnapped on Friday by a a pro-government militia in South Kivu province called Mai Mai Yakutumba. According to the report, those captured had been returning from a mission to help displaced people in the area. There has been instability and violent conflict in the east for almost two decades and the Red Cross is one of the few aid organisations working there.
The International Committee of the Red Cross in a statement said that their staff were being held in the vicinity of Fizi in South Kivu where violent clashes in recent months had displaced thousands of civilians. “We continue to insist that the strictly neutral, impartial and humanitarian nature of our work be recognised, and that our colleagues be able to return to their loved ones soon,” Franz Rauchenstein, head of the ICRC’s Congolese was quoted as saying. The UN has the world’s biggest peacekeeping mission in DR Congo with a mandate to try and stop fighting between armed groups. The current mandate expires in May and the UN is in talks with DR Congo officials about withdrawing it.
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