Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Gorilla Park Rangers killed in Virunga

Two gorilla park rangers in Virunga National Park in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo with another soldier were killed by rebels as reported by one of the Park officials.

In this attack, also five rebels were killed and this has threatened the life of the endangered species of Mountain Gorillas living in the Virunga National Park. The Eastern area of Democratic Republic of Congo has in the past years suffered from existence of numerous armed rebel groups based in the Park. Because of this, they often poach animals and according to the Park officials, almost 130 park rangers have been killed by rebels since 1996.

It has been reported that the M23 rebel group has its bases in the Park and recently it allowed tourists to resume activities such as Gorilla trekking in the region. However, this year the rebellion by this group has caused more than 500,000 people to flee their homes into the neighboring areas of Rwanda and Uganda.

According to the Virunga National Park Director Mr. Emmanuel de Merode, the rangers were travelling with an armed escort by the time they were ambushed by the members of the Mai Mai militia which is another rebel group that has its base in Eastern Congo. The group came under attack from a quite substantial Mai Mai unit.

The Virunga National Park is one of the three National Parks with the world’s remaining Mountain Gorillas (other gorilla parks are Bwindi National Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda). Virunga is also on the list of UN World Heritage sites in danger.

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