Three ICRC workers kidnapped in DRC

Goma - Armed men kidnapped three workers for the International Committee of the Red Cross in restive eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday, the aid agency said.

The employees - who a local official said were of Congolese nationality - had been sent to work in Rutshuru in the south of turbulent Nord-Kivu province.

"We've had no news from our three workers" since shortly after 09:00 Tuesday, ICRC spokesperson Elisabeth Cloutier told AFP, giving no further details. The armed men were not identified.

Captain Guillaume Ndjike, a military spokesperson in Nord-Kivu, said he had no details, but added that the army always advised "aid workers to contact the military before going into zones where militia are still operating."

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.

The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) at the time condemned "the growing trend of attacks against humanitarian workers in eastern DRCongo."

The area has suffered chronic unrest for two decades, fuelled by local armed groups and others committing ethnic-related violence, or over land or the region's mineral wealth.

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