Zimbabwean man kidnapped in DRC

via Bulawayo24 NEWS | Zimbabwean man kidnapped in DRC 26 April 2015

A Zimbabwean man is suspected to have been kidnapped together with two Congolese nationals in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) last week.

The three worked for a private company – UN-MASS – which is subcontracted by the United Nations to de-mine and defuse explosives in the DRC.

The trio went missing near Kibumba, a town which is about 19 kilometers north of Goma, the main city in North Kivu province.

The vehicle they were travelling in was found abandoned. However, no one has claimed to be holding them.

United Nations spokesperson in the DRC Mr Charles Bambara was quoted in the media saying the kidnapped men were not UN personnel but private agents employed by the UN (Monusco).

Mr Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for the UN secretary-general, told reporters in New York that the UN was working with “relevant parties on the ground” for the workers’ release.

Villagers and army officers in Kibumba said they discovered an abandoned vehicle with the UN de-mining company’s logo.

Villagers indicated that when they arrived at the scene, the vehicle engine was still idling.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the three might have been taken into the forest.

Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Ambassador Joey Bimha could not be reached for comment.

North Kivu has been a base for rebels and other armed groups for the past 20 years.

As such, Congolese soldiers have been in Eastern Congo to quell the situation.

Kidnappings of foreign nationals are very common in DRC, Kenya and Sudan with the assailants demanding a ransom for the release of the abducted individuals.
In July 2009, a Zimbabwean, Mr Blessing Mutsaka and two other foreign nationals were kidnapped by 10 Somali gunmen in Kenya while doing humanitarian work.

They were taken across the border into Somalia and spent 70 days in a bush, only to be released after a ransom was paid.