Friday 22 September 2017

Four mine workers released by kidnappers in eastern Congo

Emmanuel Macron congratulated those involved in the release of the four workers kidnapped
Emmanuel Macron congratulated those involved in the release of the four workers kidnapped

A Frenchman and three Congolese men who were kidnapped in March in eastern Congo have been released.

They were abducted, along with a Tanzanian released a month ago, from the Namoya gold mine run by Canadian firm Banro Mining Corp in Salamabila.

The four were released after several days of negotiations with the kidnappers.

The captors, residents of Salamabila who felt Banro Mining Corp was not looking out for the community, had asked the company for one million dollars (£781,000) in ransom, said Maniema provincial interior minister Bonaventure Saleh Zakuani.

The four released on Saturday are on their way to Kindu, the capital of the Maniema province, he said.

The rebel group Rahiya Mutomboki has criticised the mining company for not giving access or jobs to young miners who had been working on the site before it took over.

Its members sought a guarantee that the firm will carry out basic contractual agreements to build infrastructure in the area, including schools, roads and a health centre, said mine administrator Balthazar Hemedi Kabemba.

He said at the time of the kidnapping that members of Rahiya Mutomboki left leaflets around the mines threatening its workers.

French president Emmanuel Macron congratulated those involved in the release, "in particular Congo authorities for their mobilisation and the effectiveness of their action," according to a brief statement from his office.

AP

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