Red Cross helping to secure release of Mechem deminers in Senegal


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has also become involved in the Mechem hostage situation in Senegal and is assisting with efforts to release the workers being held there.

Twelve employees of the specialist demining company in the Denel stable were apparently kidnapped by rebel forces in Senegal’s Casamance province at the weekend. Their kidnappers are believed to belong to the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC).

Vuyelwa Qinga, Denel Group communications manager, said today the only additional information available about the 12 hostages, all Senegalese citizens, was that the ICRC was making arrangements for its representatives in the country to visit the site where they are being held.
“We now have the UN, the government of Senegal and the ICRC working to secure their release. We are in constant contact with all three and are also providing support to the families of those kidnapped.
“The issue is being handled at the highest level and Denel is confident a solution will be reached soon,” she said.

Mechem teams have been working in the Casamance province since last August doing humanitarian demining services under the auspices of the UN Development programme (UNDP) and the Senegalese National Demining Authority.

In addition to removing landmines and unexploded ordnance the Mechem teams also give landmine awareness programmes to local communities.