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Hostages kidnapped from DRC gold mine released

Namoya gold mine. Image courtesy of Banro Corp.

A kidnapping incident at one of Banro’s gold mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been resolved.

The Toronto Star and other media reported on Sunday that a French man and three Congolese men were released after being kidnapped in March from near the Namoya gold mine, operated by Canadian miner Banro Corp. (TSX:BAA). The captors were reportedly asking for $1 million in ransom.

“The four hostages, three Congolese and one French, were freed yesterday at 1800 (6 p.m. local time) in the Tengetenge locality,” read a statement from the provincial Interior Minister. “Their release came after several days of negotiations with the abductors.”

The men living near the mine had been taken by a rebel group that criticized the mining company for not giving jobs to young workers, and were seeking a guarantee that Banro will build infrastructure including schools, roads and a clinic, the Star reported.

Earlier this month Banro reported a series of attacks on police and military personnel in village areas surrounding the Namoya mine, which produced 93,253 ounces of gold in 2016, its first year of operation.

In February an armed attack on the Twanziga gold mine, another Banro property, left four dead, including three policemen.