Africa

Soco oil worker freed in DR Congo

FDLR fighters in eastern DR Congo
Image caption FDLR fighters in eastern DR Congo are blamed for much of the unrest in the region

A South African man working for UK-based oil firm Soco has been released unharmed after he was kidnapped in the restive eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

He was kidnapped with along with a Congolese soldier when FDLR rebels attacked their vehicle in North Kivu.

A UN spokesman in DR Congo said no ransom had been paid for his release.

Rival militias have been battling each other for years in the east for control of the region's mineral resources.

South Africa's Foreign Affairs Department has confirmed that the man - who has not been named - is still in DR Congo and would not give details of how he was released.

The department's spokesperson Clayson Monyela said he has been re-united with his family.

"The government worked very closely with the authorities in the DRC through our embassy as well as his employer to negotiate and secure his release," he said in a statement.

A number of armed groups have been active in North Kivu province since the 1990s.

They are regularly accused of violence against the civilian population, including killings, rape and looting.

Some FDLR leaders allegedly took part in the 1994 genocide of some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda.

They then fled to DR Congo and have been at the heart of the country's unrest in recent years.

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