Kinshasa – Three staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were abducted on Tuesday morning in North Kivu Province, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They were part of a convoy headed to the town of Kyaghala, where they were going to distribute food and essential household items to around 8,000 people affected by the conflict.
"We deeply deplore this abduction and are doing our utmost to get our colleagues back to their families as soon as possible. We call upon those responsible to immediately release them and facilitate their return, safe and sound," said Alessandra Menegon, head of the ICRC's delegation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. "We've been providing humanitarian assistance to victims of armed conflict here for 38 years. Incidents such as this compromise the security of humanitarian workers and, by depriving people of desperately needed assistance, have a long-term adverse effect on communities that have already suffered so much."
The aid distribution had been planned for more than a month. It was intended for families in Ikobo who had fled their homes last November due to the fighting and had not yet received any aid. The distribution was also supposed to help families who had returned to their villages after being displaced several times over the past few months. With access to their fields cut off, they are unable to meet their basic needs and are living in extremely difficult conditions.
For the time being, all movements in North Kivu have been suspended.
For further information, please contact:
Elisabeth Cloutier, ICRC Goma, tél: +243 81 700 77 86
Patrick Megevand, ICRC Kinshasa, tél: +243 81 700 85 36
Claire-Aude Kaplun, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 244 6405