Soco Reports Kidnapping in Block 5 in Eastern Congo

U.K. oil company Soco International Plc reported an attack in Block 5 in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that resulted in one person from a contract security company being held along with a Congolese soldier.

In a statement on its website, Soco said the security worker was unharmed and still being held by armed men.

The kidnapping took place yesterday when a convoy of Soco employees and four Congolese army escorts was attacked near Virunga National Park, United Nations spokesman Alexandre Essome said by phone today from Goma, the capital of North Kivu province where the oil block is located. Other Congolese soldiers later fought the armed men and freed three troops, he said.

The park is home to several rebel groups, including members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR, who are suspected in the attack, Essome said. The park also overlaps part of Block 5, which Soco is hoping to explore in the first quarter of this year.

UN peacekeepers found one British national and a Congolese driver while patrolling the park this morning, Essome said. A South African national and a Congolese solider are still missing, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Kavanagh in Kinshasa on

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at

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