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Tearfund mourns aid workers murdered in DRC

04 July 2024

Alamy

Sunset in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Sunset in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

TWO Tearfund aid workers have been killed in an attack in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Sunday, the charity announced on Tuesday.

The staff members were travelling in a convoy that had arrived in Butembo from Lubero when they were attacked and killed, the charity reported.

Twelve others were caught up in the attack, Tearfund said, but had been able to return home safely.

The charity has been working in the DRC through local partner organisations since 1986. Its own operational team has been working there since 2002.

The country is experiencing one of the worst security crises in the world, and is subject to severe humanitarian needs, political instability, disease outbreaks, and natural disasters. Illegal exploitation of its natural resources has stoked ongoing conflicts, forcing millions of people from their homes in the east of the country (News, 23 February). There have been several attacks on churches and schools in recent years, attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces, which are affiliated with Islamic State (News, 9 February; 23 June 2023).

The chief executive of Tearfund, Nigel Harris, said that he was “utterly devastated” by the deaths. “Our staff work selflessly to serve communities living in poverty. This news comes as a huge shock to all of us at Tearfund.”

Condemning the “horrific attack” on humanitarian aid staff, he said: “Our priority now is to provide support to the families of our deceased colleagues during this incredibly difficult time. We’re also working with the local authorities to ensure the safety and security of our remaining staff in the country.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury posted on X on Tuesday that he was “deeply saddened” to hear the news. “Tearfund works tirelessly around the world for the most vulnerable in society. I utterly condemn attacks on humanitarian aid organisations and their people. Please join me in praying for the grieving families and colleagues at this terrible time.”

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