14 humanitarian aid workers were reported yesterday as kidnapped in the area 100 km north east of Goma, although there are subsequently reports of their release. Given the location and proximity to the Rwandan border, the FDLR (a Hutu rebel group) is believed responsible. This area, south of Butembo, was once believed to be cleared of FDLR rebels but has become restive again.

Only recently, our primary travel and security concern was robbery. A recent message from James in Congo prior to this kidnapping news, however, was to advise us to not visit Beni or Butembo at all given the security risks. Our travel risk would likely involve the Ugandan Islamist group, the ADF.

The tragedy is that while the Congolese need help more than ever, the heightened security risks are undoubtedly keeping aid workers away when they are needed the most.