Six Tanzanian imams kidnapped in eastern DR Congo set free


Six Tanzanian imams and their Congolese driver who were kidnapped on Aug. 2, 2015 in DR Congo’s North Kivu province, were released on Tuesday, a civil society source said.

The six were released following a military operation that has been going in North Kivu province against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels, the coordinator of the Center for Promotion of Peace, Democracy and Human Rights (CEPADHO) Omar Kavota told Xinhua by phone.

“The imams were presented to local authorities on Sept. 1,” Kavota said, adding that “they had been released unconditionally by their kidnappers in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).”

“They walked for several hours at night before getting to a unit of DR Congo soldiers who later escorted them,” he said.

Eight days after their abduction, the kidnappers asked for a ransom of 20,000 U.S. dollars from the North Kivu Governor Julien Paluku before releasing the imams. However, North Kivu authorities and the Muslim community did not respond to the demands of the hostage takers.

The Tanzanian imams and their Congolese driver were kidnapped by suspected FDLR members when they were coming back from a mission to teach the Islamic faith in Kiwanja locality, North Kivu province.

Officials of the muslim community in North Kivu said the imams and their driver were safe and sound, although they reported having been tortured by their kidnappers.

Army spokesman in North Kivu Victor Masandi confirmed the release of the imams to Xinhua, but promised to give further details later. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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