The Director of the International Committee of the Red Cross (Red Cross Int.), stated via Twitter last night, that everything that could possibly be done to bring three abducted workers in the Congo (DRC) “safely back home,” is being done.  According to Bloomberg News, it is suspected that an armed militant group who operate out of the Eastern Congo and are of Rwandan origin may be responsible for the abductions.

A bad bunch of bandits.

Justin Mukanya, who works for the administration of the North Kivu region, was quoted as saying that he suspects the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, (DFLR), might be responsible for the kidnapping. If this is correct, the poor workers are in the hands of a bad bunch of armed bandits. According to an investigative article published by the International Business Times, the DFLR is one of over fifty armed groups. There are dozens of them out there, but the DFLR has a sinister reputation. They are extremely abusive and arose out of the horrific 1994 genocides in Rwanda. They now base in neighboring Congo and are determined to take back power in Kigali.

Mayhem, murder and war crimes.

They have wreaked mayhem and murder in the DRC, and their crimes range from ethnic killings to multiple rapes and forced abduction of children into their movement. They have been involved in attacks on Congolese army troops and their 2009 attack on Busurungi was so horrendous that the UN issued a statement saying that it probably would qualify as a #War crime. These are ruthless killers.

People snatched for ransom.

There has been an increase in the numbers of civilians being snatched by the group, especially in the areas north of Kivu. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that there are armed groups who snatch people for ransom. In 2015, a total of four hostages were killed either during the kidnap attempts or following non-payment of ransom. The majority of hostages were released after payment, but they underwent some dreadful tortures whilst in “custody”.

Torture and abasement.

Ida Sawyer of the HRW mentions that beatings, rape, burning and abusive aggression are part of the lives of hostages. In one instance a kidnapped student from a medical hospital said they were told that if they were hungry they should eat a man that the rebels had just murdered.

Calls for a special unit.

In 2015, the HRW made an urgent plea to the Congolese authorities, to create a special unit to deal with investigating hostage cases, prosecution of those responsible and the presentation of evidence that will bring about meaningful sentencing for their crimes. The situation is very grave in the Eastern Congo, so it has to be asked just how effective a unit like this will be?

The travesty of the Congo lies in the fact that decades of #Conflict have devastated what should be the jewel of Africa.