Author： EnglishTeacher 2022-11-25
An Australian English teacher has gone missing in a dangerous region in Central Africa as distressed family members express fears he's been kidnapped or killed.
Mark Ciavarella, 56, who is from Leeton in the NSW Riverina, has been working in the Republic of the Congo for more than six years.
He was last seen in the nation's capital, Brazzaville, on October 26 before mysteriously vanishing without a trace.
Brazzaville has a reputation for organised crime, with tourists warned about the dangers prevalent in the city as local gangs roam the region.
The troubled nation is also plagued by political instability, civil war and the constant threat of violent coup plots.
Mr Ciavarella was reported missing after he didn't turn up for classes and missed appointments.
His apartment appeared untouched and the only item missing was his phone.
Mr Ciavarella's friends and family have made a desperate plea for his safe return.
'For him to disappear and not be there for these kids is out of the ordinary,' said Mark's brother, Darren Ciavarella.
'Very gut-wretching, it's like you want to help but you're hamstrung by the distance.'
His cousin, Nick Ciavarella, said: 'You're sort of a bit numb from the shock of it all and then your mind goes through the scenarios.'
He added that family members think 'something untoward' possibly happened.
A family friend made a post to Facebook, writing, 'Mark was an English teacher there and disappeared without a trace. We hold grave fears for his safety'.
'We would appreciate any information that you may be able to give if you have seen Mark or know anything about his whereabouts.
'Could you please share this post to all of your friends, make it public, and ask others to share as well.'
Mr Ciavarella's family were sent a video on his WhatsApp account that showed an African man. The sender has made no further contact.
Local police in Brazzaville are investigating his disappearance and have several leads.
Mark Ciavarella’s cousin Nick believes ‘something untoward’ may have happened.