Unknown gunmen abducts two UN experts in Congo

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Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza addresses a news conference attended by the visiting United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (not seen in picture) in the capital Bujumbura February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana

Two experts from the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been kidnapped in the central Kasai region, UN and Congolese sources said Monday.

The two have been missing since Sunday, according to Mr Charles-Antoine Bambara, the spokesman for the MONUSCO peacekeeping mission.

Four Congolese nationals — three motorcycle-taxi drivers and an interpreter — were also taken hostage.

One of the victims is a US national, the other a Swede, Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende said.

“They were kidnapped at a bridge over the Moyo river and taken to the forest by unknown assailants,” Mr Mende said.

The Congolese and UN officials said efforts to locate the victims were under way.

A Uruguayan peacekeeper was shot and injured last week in the same region, which has been wracked by a rebellion since September.

The uprising erupted after government forces in August killed a tribal chief and militia leader, Kamwina Nsapu, who had rebelled against President Joseph Kabila.

The violence has since spilled over to the neighbouring provinces of Kasai-Oriental and Lomami, leaving at least 400 people dead.

The United Nations has nearly 19,000 troops deployed in the DR Congo, its largest and costliest peacekeeping mission.

About 100 of those troops were recently dispatched to the Kasai region.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday asked the Security Council to send an extra 320 UN police to the country after a deal to end a dispute over the presidential election stalled.

Source: Africa Review

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