Published: Sun, May 13, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

British vacationers kidnapped, guard killed in Congo park ambush

British vacationers kidnapped, guard killed in Congo park ambush

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was in contact with DRC authorities on the incident and was providing support to families of the victims.

Their vehicle was ambushed while bringing the tourists from Kibumba to the city of Goma, Joel Wengamulay, spokesman for the Congolese Institute for The Conservation of Nature, told the United Nations -backed Radio Okapi.

The Britons were among a group of people taken hostage, according to a spokesperson for the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN).

Virunga national park's 3,000 square miles contain active volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, forests and savannahs.

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A park ranger at Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was killed and at least three people, including two British tourists, were kidnapped Friday, park officials said.

Five rangers and a driver were killed in the park on 9 April.

The incident took place just north of the city of Goma, North Kivu province.

Last year, a fifth of the park's southern sector was deforested owing to illegal charcoal production.

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The park is a Unesco world heritage site and is home to critically-endangered mountain gorillas as well as lions, elephants and hippos.

DRC is still recovering from a bloody civil war that raged between 1997 and 2003, and the recent surge in violence has concerned aid agencies, who warned the country was "on a cliff edge". There have been increasingly intense clashes between local militia known as Mai-Mai, armed groups and security forces including police, army soldiers and the park's 700 guards.

A week earlier a park ranger died in an attack by armed men as he guarded the construction site of a hydroelectric plant.

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