On Sunday, April 19, four personnel from the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) NGO were released by their captors in Fizi territory (South Kivu province) following their abduction four days prior. The group consisted of a project manager, an assistant, and two drivers who were reportedly from the MSF-Holland office. They were released following negotiations between MSF and local authorities.
A heightened security presence is expected in South Kivu province over the near term. Further targeted attacks against foreign aid workers cannot be ruled out.
The government's limited presence in the DRC's eastern provinces, including South Kivu, as well as the presence of numerous armed groups and local self-defense militias (Maï-Maï militias) have led to continued insecurity in the area. Humanitarian organizations have stated that security conditions in the Kivu regions present a major obstacle to delivering humanitarian assistance to those in need as kidnappings, including of Congolese and foreign aid workers, are frequent in the area.
Individuals in South Kivu province are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.