On Wednesday, July 6, the Tanzanian Foreign Ministry announced that 21 Tanzanian and three Kenyan truckers driving in a convoy were abducted by Maï-Maï militants in eastern Lulimba, South Kivu province, on June 29. According to the Tanzanian embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Maï-Maï rebels attacked the convoy being escorted by Congolese soldiers, robbed the truckers, damaged the vehicles, and then kidnapped the truckers.
Kidnapping for ransom is a significant threat in the eastern regions of the DRC. There have been a growing number of attacks against mine workers and NGOs operating in the region, caused by the state’s limited presence in the eastern provinces and the presence of numerous armed groups and local self-defense militias (Maï-Maï militias). In March, two members of a United Nations Group of Experts - a Swede and a US national - were kidnapped and subsequently killed in Kasai-Central province, which has also seen an uptick in violence.
Due to these and other security concerns, many Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu (particularly outside the cities of Goma and Bukavu), as well as the northeast portion of Eastern province and the northern part of Katanga due to the presence of armed groups. Certain governments also advise against nonessential travel to the rest of the country.
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