Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Two British hostages in Congo released - Johnson

A group of park rangers pause in front of a field post in Virunga National Park A group of park rangers pause in front of a field post in Virunga National Park
Lisa Bryan | 14 May, 2018, 06:00

In peacetime, the Virunga National Park has barely fended off the local warlords and gangsters seeking to strip it off its valuable timber or the government officials and vested corporate interests seeking to exploit its oil.

The men were gorilla trekking at Virunga National Park on the eastern border when their convoy was ambushed by armed militants.

Johnson paid tribute to DR Congo authorities and the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation for their "tireless help".

The pair, who have not been named, were kidnapped in Virunga National Park.

The 25-year-old ranger is the eighth to be murdered at the park this year.


British ambassador to the DRC, John Murton, tweeted his thanks to the country's authorities for helping free the two people.

He said: "We wish to extend our sincerest condolences to her family, and our thoughts are with all those affected by this incident". The kidnapping took place near the village of Kibati, north of Goma, in North Kivu. More than 175 rangers have died protecting Virunga National Park, which is located in the rugged mountains and volcanic plains adjacent to neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.

Virunga is home to about one-quarter of the world's remaining mountain gorillas, and the work of protecting them has proven unsafe.

BBC Africa editor Will Ross said poachers were active in the park, which was also under threat due to the illegal felling of trees to make charcoal and plans for oil exploration.

Baraka was critically injured when the vehicle the four were travelling in was attacked by armed assailants, the park said on its website.

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