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UNHCR worker murdered in Democratic Republic of the Congo

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UNHCR worker murdered in Democratic Republic of the Congo

27 March 2001

GENEVA - A UNHCR staff member was shot and killed Tuesday by armed men who stole his vehicle in western Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mr. Nsakara Tshiama, a driver in UNHCR's office in the western D.R. Congo town of Kimpese, was gunned down late Tuesday morning.

"We are shocked by the cold-blooded murder of yet another innocent humanitarian worker," High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers said Tuesday afternoon. "On behalf of all UNHCR staff, I want to express our deepest sympathy to Mr. Tshiama's family. Words cannot express our sadness and our anger at the loss of yet another colleague."

Authorities told UNHCR that the killing took place at 11:20 Tuesday morning in Kimpese, near D.R. Congo's border with Angola. Witnesses said Mr. Tshiama was alone in a UNHCR vehicle when he was stopped by four uniformed men in another car. Two of the uniformed men demanded the UNHCR vehicle and then shot Mr. Tshiama twice in the back. Severely wounded, he died later at Kimpese hospital. The assailants were last seen driving the UNHCR vehicle north towards Kinshasa.

It was the fifth killing of a UNHCR staff member since last September, when three refugee agency workers were murdered in Atambua, West Timor, and another was gunned down a few weeks later in Macenta, Guinea.

UNHCR in Kimpese, 200 kms south of Kinshasa, is caring for nearly 60,000 Angolan refugees in the Bas-Congo area.