Six NGO staff members kidnapped in Burundi.

Bujumbura- Burundi (PANA) -- An armed group Friday kidnapped six members of Memisa Coped, a non-governmental organisation, working in the southern province of Makamba in the town of Kibago, said a senior official Saturday.
Makamba governor, Col.
Gabriel Gunungu, speaking on national radio, did not reveal the identity nor nationality of the victims.
The NGO is known to belong to the country's Catholic Church.
The Memisa Coped team was reportedly going to Makamba to visit a displaced people's camp at Nyakazi when the kidnapping took place, Gunungu said.
Comprising medical doctors, four women and two men, the victims were stopped on the road at the village of Bukeye by armed men believed to be members of the main and most active Burundian rebel movement, the Democratic Defense Forces (FDD), Gunungu added.
The kidnapped were reportedly taken to neighbouring Tanzania across from the border with Burundi, he said.
Burundi has often accused Tanzania of providing a rear base for the rebels but Dar es Salaam denies this.
Gunungu said that efforts would soon be underway between the Burundi and the Tanzanian authorities in the northern town of Kigoma to have the humanitarian workers released.
In addition to the workers, three youths from the village were also kidnapped by the same group who allegedly took them to Tanzania, Gunungu said, quoting one of the youths that had managed to escape his kidnappers.
Medical supplies, together with a battery of the victims' Jeep vehicle, were stolen after the incident, he said.
Radio Burundi also reported Saturday that at least four civilians were killed Friday night during fighting in the Matongo and Gahombo localities in Burundi's north-western province of Kayanga.

13 may 2001 12:07:00




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