Geneva/Kinshasa (ICRC) - In two separate operations carried out yesterday and today, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) facilitated the release and transfer of six Congolese army personnel who had been detained by armed groups in North and South Kivu provinces.
The parties requested that the ICRC organize these operations in its capacity as a neutral intermediary. ICRC delegates spoke with each of the six men in private to make sure that they freely accepted their transfer back to the Congolese armed forces.
One officer was placed in the care of the ICRC by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in the territory of Walikale in North Kivu and transferred by helicopter to Goma yesterday. A similar operation involving the ICRC, in which two other armed forces personnel were released and transferred, took place in September 2009.
Four officers and one non-commissioned officer were handed over to the ICRC today by the Federalist Republican Forces (FRF) in the territory of Fizi in South Kivu and then taken by car to Minembwe.
"We welcome these parallel operations, which show the trust that the parties to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have in the ICRC. It is this trust that enables our organization to fulfil its role as a neutral intermediary," said Franz Rauchenstein, the ICRC's head of delegation in the country. "Nonetheless, the humanitarian situation, particularly in the eastern provinces, in Orientale province and more recently in Equateur province, remains a cause for concern."
The eastern part of the country remains very tense, especially in rural areas. It is vitally important, therefore, that every possible effort be made to ensure that the rules of international humanitarian law are adhered to.
For further information, please contact:
Inah Kaloga, ICRC Kinshasa, tel: +243 81 700 85 36
Anna Schaaf, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 2271 or +41 79 217 3217
or visit our website: www.icrc.org