Armed bandits in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) killed a Congolese park ranger and briefly kidnapped two conservation workers, including a French national, during an ambush in early May. Officials announced that the attack took place in South Kivu's Itombwe Reserve, and a ransom of USD 25,000 was demanded for the French Wildlife Conservation Society (WSC) employee who was kidnapped. The employee was released on Monday, May 8, although it is unclear whether the ransom was paid.
Instances of kidnapping have increased since 2015 in eastern Congo, and a 2016 Human Rights Watch report found that at least 175 people were kidnapped for ransom in the region between 2015-2016.
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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