The top United Nations official in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today welcomed the recent release of two hostages who were held by elements of the rebel Forces Républicaines et Fédéralistes (FRF) for almost a month.
The two Congolese men, Georges Shanyungu and Célestin Bamwisho, who were kidnapped while working in the eastern province of South Kivu on the UN-supported Amani disarmament programme, were released yesterday in good health.
The Secretary-General's Special Representative for the DRC, Alan Doss said that he appreciated the efforts of “all those who patiently and with great restraint participated or supported the negotiations leading to the release of these figures,” in a statement released by his spokesperson.
In his statement, Mr. Doss, who is also head of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUC), “paid tribute to the military and civilian personnel of MONUC great coolness and professionalism that have characterized their behavior throughout this difficult period.”
The Special Representative recalled “the firmness with which the international community unequivocally condemns hostage-taking which can in no way be considered an expression of political views or legitimate claims.”
The two men were in Kamombo on the way to Uvira with a MONUC team which accompanied a delegation of Congolese contributors to the Amani programme, when they were prevented from continuing their voyage in January.
Mr. Shanyungu is the Provincial Minister of the Interior of South Kivu and Mr. Bamwisho is the Permanent Secretary of the Management Committee of the Amani programme for South Kivu.