DRC: Aid workers safe after attack

2010-09-02 17:08

Nairobi/Goma - Six aid workers who came under fire from militia in Democratic Republic of Congo and were forced to flee into the bush are safe and unharmed, their employer said.

"The team of three expatriates was arriving by plane, with another expatriate and two nationals waiting to pick them up in Walikale, in North Kivu Province," International Medical Corps said.

"Upon landing, they encountered gunfire and the group fled the immediate area by foot," the statement added.

Local guides and IMC national staff found the group hiding in the bush some 5km from the airstrip where the attack took place.

One of the aid workers said they hid for six hours before being rescued.

The team of aid workers was due to assess the situation in the village of Luvungi, where over 150 women and children were recently raped by rebels.

DRC is still recovering from a full-scale conflict that ran from 1998-2003. An estimated 5.4 million people have died as a result of the conflict and its long aftermath.

Rebel groups continue to roam the east - raping, looting and raking in cash from illegally mining minerals for use in consumer electronics.