Aid worker from Caritas killed in Congo

By agency reporter
July 21, 2009

A Catholic aid agency is condemning the growing climate of insecurity in eastern Congo following the killing of one of its staff members.

Ricky Agusa Sukaka, 27, who worked with Caritas Internationalis was shot dead in Musezero, North Kivu, on the way home from work on the afternoon of 15 July. When his colleagues found him, his pockets had been emptied and his Secours Catholique-Caritas France t-shirt removed.

Villagers reported seeing Mr Sukaka, who was a Congolese national, stopped by two men wearing Congolese army uniforms before he was killed.

Lesley-Anne Knight, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis said, "Ricky Sukaka bravely worked in a war zone to help others rebuild their lives. The brutality and killing in Congo has got to stop. Caritas calls on all the groups involved to sit down at the negotiating table and work for a lasting peace."

Violent clashes between the army and rebels have left almost one million people displaced in North and South Kivu. Armed groups frequently inflict killings, rapes, looting and violence on a population which remains largely without protection.

Those who leave their homes fearing for their lives, often end up in camps where they have to rely on external help to access basic necessities such as food, water and clothes.

Caritas Internationalis is the confederation of 164 Catholic aid agencies which includes Caritas France. The Caritas member organisations in France and Congo made contact with the army, the UN force in Congo and the UN humanitarian affairs office following Mr Sukaka's death.

Caritas France says it will closely follow the inquiry into the killing to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.

It says the humanitarian community, like the Congolese population, is paying the high price of the increased activity of rebel groups and the army in the region.

Mr Sukaka had worked as an agricultural engineer with Caritas France for just over a year.

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