Two DRC customs men freed after $3 000 ransom paid

Two Congolese customs agents held captive for six days in the troubled east of the country were freed on Thursday after the payment of a $3 000 ransom, officials said.

The kidnappers had demanded $15 000, said an official of the DRC's customs and excise division in South Kivu province, adding that the men were released at around 04:00.

"The money was paid by members of their families," he said, noting that "they appeared in good health, though one of the pair had difficulty walking".

Gunmen abducted them on Saturday at the Vugizo border post along the Ruzizi river that forms part of the border between the DRC and Burundi.

On Wednesday, civil society representatives in the town of Uvira expressed alarm over a surge in kidnappings in the eastern DRC, as well as thefts and attacks.

Multiple foreign and local armed groups operate in the resource-rich region, with serious crimes against civilians decried by the authorities and the UN's MONUSCO peacekeeping mission.

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