Kinshasa (ICRC) – The two members of a team from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who were abducted in the morning of Wednesday, 7 June, between Kirumba and Beni, near Lubero, in North Kivu province, were released this morning.
"We are relieved that our colleagues have been returned to us, and delighted that they have been reunited with their families. Their ordeal is over," said Christine Cipolla, the head of the ICRC delegation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. "However, we strongly deplore this abduction. Such acts can jeopardize the efforts of humanitarian workers who are striving to alleviate the suffering of communities already severely affected by conflict."
The ICRC refuses to speculate about the reasons for this incident or who might be responsible. The team was carrying out humanitarian work, overseeing the distribution of food and household essentials in the villages of Kamandi-Gite and Kikuvo to help 5,000 families who were driven from their homes at the beginning of the year by the fighting, and the local community who had taken them in.
The ICRC worked tirelessly to secure the release of its team members. "We would like to thank the authorities, the local people, the community and religious leaders and all those who stood by us at this difficult time. We would also like to thank the families for their trust and bravery," said Ms Cipolla.
For further information, please contact:
James Matthews, ICRC Goma, tel: +243 81 700 77 86
Patrick Megevand, ICRC Kinshasa, tel: +243 81 700 85 36
Krista Armstrong, ICRC Geneva, tel. : +41 79 217 32 87