KINSHASA (Reuters) - Three Congolese employees of charity Save the Children who were kidnapped in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo last week have been released, a U.N. official said on Tuesday.
“Glad to know that three (Save the Children) staff released, remain (concerned) about insecurity,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Congo wrote on its Twitter feed, without providing further detail.
The kidnappings on March 2 by unknown assailants renewed concerns about security in North Kivu province, which borders Rwanda and Uganda and is home to dozens of armed groups that exploit natural resources and prey on the civilian population.
At least 175 people were kidnapped for ransom in eastern Congo last year, according to Human Rights Watch. Many kidnappings appeared to be carried out by former and current members of armed groups.
Congo is heavily dependent on aid from non-governmental organizations and U.N. agencies but humanitarians have been forced to scale back their activities in recent months due to the kidnapping threat.
Save the Children declined to comment immediately on OCHA’s announcement.
Reporting by Aaron Ross; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Alison Williams and Andrew Heavens