Three kidnapped aid workers released in DR Congo: Caritas

A worker watches a Caritas aid distribution from a truck, in a displaced camp on July 25, 2006 in Manji, DR Congo (AFP Photo/LIONEL HEALING) (AFP/File)

Kinshasa (AFP) - Three workers with the Catholic aid organisation Caritas were released Wednesday, a day after their abduction in a troubled region of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the charity said.

"The three Caritas-Congo workers kidnapped near Mweso have been released," said Caritas-Congo spokesman Guy-Marin Kamandji, without giving details on the circumstances of the release.

The kidnap occurred in an area notorious for attacks by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel group.

The aid group had said Monday that three of its Congolese employees had been abducted after their vehicle was ambushed by suspected FDLR fighters.

Shots had been fired at a second vehicle but it got away. One of its occupants, a German photojournalist, was wounded in the leg.

Set up in eastern DR Congo after the genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994, the FDLR has been accused of committing frequent atrocities against civilians in areas under its control.

Several of its chiefs face accusations of war crimes or crimes against humanity.

North Kivu province, which borders Uganda and Rwanda, has been the scene of repeated clashes for nearly two decades, and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced.

Abductions of aid workers have been a frequent occurrence this year in the areas of Masisi, Lubero, Rutshuru and Walikale, despite fierce condemnation by the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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