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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Eight Tanzanian truck drivers kidnapped in DR Congo freed

DAR ES SALAAM, (Xinhua) -- The government of Tanzania said on Friday that eight truck drivers kidnapped on Wednesday by rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were freed.

Mindi Kasiga, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Xinhua by phone that the drivers were freed after DRC soldiers ambushed the rebels in Kilembe forest.

She said most of them were in shock and being treated at a military hospital in DRC before arrangements for their journey back were made.

Kasiga said since most of documents belonging to the drivers, including passports, were destroyed when their lorries were burnt to ashes, they will have to travel to the Rwandan capital Kigali to process new passports at Tanzania’s embassy.

“They cannot travel to our embassy in Kinshasa to get new passports because it is very far from the area. It is easier to travel to Kigali than Kinshasa,” she said.

“The process of getting medical attention and travelling to Kigali to get new travel documents will take two to three days before they arrive back home,” Kasiga added.

The rebels known as Mai-Mai on Wednesday burnt to ashes eight trucks from Tanzania and four others from Kenya, and kidnapped all drivers, demanding a ransom of 4,000 U.S. dollars from each driver.

Eight of the hijacked trucks belong to Tanzanian businessman identified as Azim Dewji, and the remaining four belong to Kenyan businessmen. The trucks from Tanzania were ferrying cement to the DRC.

Dewji who travelled to DRC on Friday said a satellite telephone was all it took to trace and ambush about 40 armed rebels.

“The satellite phone enabled the DRC soldiers to locate the rebels and ambush them at Kilembe forest on Friday night,” said Dewji, adding that the rebels abandoned their captives before running away.

“I did not give the rebels a single cent as part of the demanded ransom,” said Dewji, when asked on phone by Xinhua whether the ransom played its part on their release.

Last year eight Tanzanian Muslim clerics were kidnapped in the DRC and were later rescued following joint efforts by the governments of Tanzania and DRC.

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Tanzanian gov’t appeals for release of 8 drivers kidnapped in DRC

DAR ES SALAAM, (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian authorities on Thursday appealed for the release of eight drivers kidnapped on Wednesday by rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The rebels known as Mai Mai on Wednesday burnt to ashes eight trucks from Tanzania and four others from Kenya, and kidnapped all drivers demanding a ransom of 4,000 U.S. dollars from each driver.

Reports said the armed rebels kidnapped the drivers at Namoya in Kivu province in the DRC.

Mindi Kasiga, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the governments of Tanzania and DRC were doing all they could to ensure that the drivers were released alive and returned to Tanzania.

She said reports from DRC indicated that the hostages were being held in a forest where they were being threatened to be killed if the money was not released within 24 hours.

She said two of the kidnapped drivers managed to escape and they were helping the Tanzanian government to get all details of the kidnap.

She also urged Tanzanians to study the situation of countries that they intended to travel to for businesses to avoid finding themselves in difficult situations like what has happened in the DRC.

Mai Mai rebels are armed forces based in North Kivu and South Kivu bordering Rwanda. They are led by warlords and supported by traditional tribal elders and village leaders.

Last year, eight Tanzanian Muslim clerics were kidnapped in the DRC and were later rescued following joint efforts by the governments of Tanzania and DRC.

             

 

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