FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, June 17, 1997
Peace Corps Volunteers Safely Evacuated from Republic of Congo
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 17, 1997—All 34 Peace Corps volunteers who were serving in the Republic of Congo when fighting broke out 12 days ago are safe and accounted for, Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan announced today.
All but one volunteer have been evacuated, most to neighboring Gabon. The final volunteer, Laura Rice, was located this morning and is now at the U.S. Embassy in Brazzaville. She and Peace Corps Country Director Christopher Kosnik will be evacuated tomorrow, along with U.S. Ambassador Aubrey Hooks and the remaining American personnel at the embassy.
"I am pleased to say that all our Peace Corps volunteers are safe," said Gearan. "I would like to thank all parties for their assistance in evacuating the volunteers. We received tremendous support from many friends of the Peace Corps, including government, businesses and private organizations, both American and Congolese."
Some of the Peace Corps volunteers in the Republic of Congo had served 20 months of their two-year tour of duty and will likely return home. The remaining volunteers will be given the option of transferring to another country or returning home, Gearan said. Gearan said the Peace Corps has temporarily suspended its program in the Republic of Congo. More than 150 volunteers have served in Congo since the program began in 1991.
# # #