By Staff Reporter
A Zimbabwean man employed by a Canadian gold mining firm in the Democratic Republic of Congo was last Friday morning kidnapped by armed bandits in the wartorn country.
A DRC army spokesperson, Captain Dieudonne Kasereka on Monday confirmed that a Zimbabwean national and a South African working for Banro were kidnapped in the restive South Kivu province at around 10.30 am. The army officer did not name the kidnapped miners but confirmed a manhunt had been launched to secure their release.
“The Banro officials were ambushed by armed bandits on Friday at 10.30 am between Salamabila and Kitindi in the Maniema region,” Kasereka told the DRC media.
The South Kivu province borders the neighbouring countries of Rwanda and Burundi and it is an area mostly operated by rebel militias.
Kasereka however indicated unconfirmed reports claimed there were as many as four officials who had been seized, but the military only had solid information relating to two foreign nationals.
“Sources speak of four officials kidnapped but the report we have is that a South African and a Zimbabwean were kidnapped by rebels active in the region. The army has been hunting for them,” he said.
A Banro official is reported to have confirmed the kidnapping but did not give further details.
The company’s operations have been affected by illegal gold miners and armed groups and in 2017, Banro was forced to stop operations at one of its mines after a deadly attack.