Priests in Congo find missing German student

3rd June 2008, Comments 0 comments

A German girl gone missing in central Congo has been found, according to reports

Leipzig/Kinshasa -- A German biology student, missing in a national park in central Congo for over 10 days, has been found alive by a group of priests, reports said on Monday.

UN peacekeepers in Congo informed the German Foreign Ministry that the priests had found Esther Carlitz, 23, who disappeared on May 22nd on an expedition to spot bonobo primates in Salonga National Park.

An Africa expert in Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Party, Hartwig Fischer, said Carlitz was as well as could be expected after her ordeal.

He said she was still with the priests, but it remained unclear where and how they had found her. She would be brought to the Congolese capital Kinshasa as quickly as possible, he said.

Carlitz had become separated from her male helper, who had returned alone to the base run by the Max Planck Evolutionary Anthropology Institute at Lui Kotal in the Salonga National Park.

German news reports said reaching Lui Kotal requires a three hour drive from the nearest town followed by a 25 kilometre hike.

The institute has yet to confirm that the person found Monday was the biology student. The girl's family was not available for comment.

The institute said staff and students were forbidden to walk alone in the forest. It was unclear why Carlitz, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, had done so.

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