Aid workers’ plane fired on
JOHANNESBURG – Gunmen in eastern Congo fired on a private plane carrying international aid workers who escaped into the forest and were later rescued, aid workers from the International Medical Corps (IMC) told The Associated Press.
IMC regional director Miel Hendrickson said earlier that the endangered staff of the Los Angeles-based medical aid group were three Americans and one Georgian who were on the aircraft, and two Congolese staff who were at the landing strip outside Walikale mining town when the shooting erupted.
IMC aid worker Will Cragin said he was rescued hours after the incident, but did not give further details on his experience. He spoke to the AP from Walikale.
Hendrickson said yesterday’s attack came a few weeks after an Indian pilot was kidnapped at Walikale airport. The whereabouts of the foreigner who piloted the plane were not immediately clear.
In a separate incident, two foreign pilots were also kidnapped this morning after landing at the main airstrip in Walikale town, a representative of the airline told the AP.
John Kanyoni of African Air Service Commuter said the Ukrainian pilot and Congolese co-pilot were seized. He said the captors also looted the plane, and that the airline has not had contact with the kidnappers.
Congolese military officials said the men were piloting and co-piloting one of several small planes that flies daily to the town to ferry minerals.
The Indian pilot kidnapped from the airstrip outside Walikale two weeks ago was released after negotiations. The company he worked for refused to say if it paid militiamen a ransom. (AP)