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Jakarta Post

Indonesian peacekeeping contingent helps free American hostage in DR Congo

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, July 21, 2020   /   04:06 pm
Indonesian peacekeeping contingent helps free American hostage in DR Congo Indonesian military members with the United Nations' peacekeeping mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo on duty in 2020. (Courtesy of the Indonesian Military/-)

The Indonesian peacekeeping contingent of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), or MONUSCO, has succeeded in helping to free a United States citizen who was held hostage by an armed bandit group in the African country.

Col. Daniel Lumban Raja, the commander of the Indonesian Military’s Garuda Contingent XXXIX-B Rapidly Deployable Battalion (RDB), said the US national, identified as Sarah, was released after having been held by the bandit group for 16 days in Ake village, some 10 kilometers from DRC’s Lulimba.

“The rescue began with the transfer of information from the MSF team to the Lulimba Static Combat Deployment (SCD) commander, Maj. Yoni,” Daniel said in a statement published on Monday.

Before the operation took place, the Indonesian military members started by planning a negotiation with the bandit group as they feared that Sarah’s condition might have worsened after more than two weeks held hostage.

Yoni, together with the MSF team, the village chief, the DRC armed forces (FARDC) regiment commander and the local police, held a briefing in Lulimba to finalize the negotiation plan and prepare anticipatory steps.

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Daniel said the village chief and two members of the MSF team carried out the negotiation successfully and reached an agreement with three bandits armed with AK-47s.

“The RDB played an important role in ensuring that the situation was under control by implementing outer ring security in order to provide backup and take action in the event of a critical situation during the hostage negotiation process,” Daniel said.

The bandit group finally agreed to free Sarah. She was reported to be in stable condition during the time of the release and was immediately admitted for intensive medical examination afterward.

The Indonesian Military, however, did not mention the date of Sarah's release in its statement. (syk)