KINSHASA – The World Food Programme is deeply saddened by the killing on Monday of a staff member in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Richard Kasimba, a driver, was shot dead during an ambush by unknown assailants about 70 kilometres northwest of Goma, North Kivu province, while travelling by road with three colleagues to monitor a food distribution.
His WFP companions were unhurt in the attack, which occurred at 8.30am local time in the Loashi area of Masisi territory. Their vehicle was headed for Nyabiondo, where the distribution, to 13,000 people recently displaced by violence, was to take place.
Armed groups, many of them criminal gangs who prey on local communities and travellers, are active in North Kivu, particularly Masisi territory. They are also known to disrupt the work of humanitarian organisations.
“As we mourn our dear friend Richard, we condemn this senseless killing and urge all parties to ensure safe passage for humanitarian staff engaged in life-saving work”, said WFP DRC Country Director Claude Jibidar, who had known the deceased for almost 20 years.
Richard leaves behind a wife and nine children, aged between three and 23. He joined WFP in 1995 and was admired and respected by colleagues for his professionalism, decency and calm.
“I never, ever heard him complain”, said Makena Walker, the head of WFP’s office in Goma, North Kivu’s capital, where Richard was based.
DRC is one of the world’s most complex, challenging and dangerous humanitarian environments. As is the case in such places, humanitarian and other workers operating there often put their lives on the line, travelling long distances through areas where insecurity is rife. They do so with little thought for their own safety, in the service of those less fortunate than themselves. Richard was one such person, who chose to serve his fellow countrymen with selflessness and dedication. He is fondly remembered by his family, his friends and his colleagues.
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