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Red Cross suspends travel after workers kidnapped in DR Congo

By AFP

Added 5th May 2016 05:56 AM

The three kidnapped men were part of a convoy headed to the village of Kyaghala to distribute aid to people impacted by the armed conflict in the area

The International Committee of the Red Cross announced Wednesday it was suspending planned travel in the restive eastern Democratic Republic of Congo after three workers were kidnapped.

Armed men seized the employees -- who a local official said previously were Congolese nationals -- Tuesday in the turbulent Nord-Kivu province.

"All planned ICRC travel in Nord-Kivu has been suspended until further notice," the aid agency wrote in a statement.

The three kidnapped men were part of a convoy headed to the village of Kyaghala to distribute aid to people impacted by the armed conflict in the area.

"We strongly condemn the kidnapping and are making every effort to reunite our colleagues with their families," said Alessandra Menegon, head of ICRC's delegation in DR Congo.

"We call on the assailants to free the hostages, safe and sound, immediately," she added.

Attacks against aid workers are regular occurences in the area, which has suffered chronic unrest for two decades.

The strife is fuelled by local armed groups and others committing ethnic-related violence, or over land or the region's mineral wealth.

In early March three Congolese workers for Save the Children were taken hostage for seven days by unidentified kidnappers in Lubero, in central Nord-Kivu province.

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