Guard killed, British tourists abducted in Congo’s Virunga
KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — One wildlife park guard was killed and two British tourists and their driver were abducted in Virunga National Park in Congo, a park spokesman said Friday.
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 U.N.-backed Radio Okapi.
Investigations into the attack have begun, Wengamulay said.
Eastern Congo is home to multiple armed groups that compete for mineral-rich land.
“We are in close contact with the authorities in Democratic Republic of the Congo following an incident involving two British nationals, and our staff are providing support to their families,” Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement.
A park guard told The Associated Press that the driver was injured in the ambush about 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of Goma. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to the press.
Virunga is home to about one-quarter of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, and the work of protecting them has proven dangerous.
On April 9, six park staffers were killed in the deadliest known ambush of its kind in Virunga. Park officials blamed Mai Mai militia members.
That attack brought the number of rangers killed on the job to 175 since the vast park in far eastern Congo was established in 1925, officials said.
Allied Democratic Forces rebels have also been accused of attacks and kidnappings near the park.
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