Publicado: Sáb, May 12, 2018
Global | Por Milagro Delgado

British tourists 'kidnapped' at Virunga wildlife park in Democratic Republic of Congo

British tourists 'kidnapped' at Virunga wildlife park in Democratic Republic of Congo

Park spokesman Vianney Harakandi earlier told CNN there was a "kidnap" situation involving foreign tourists. According to local media, a female ranger was killed in the incident.

It is believed they were visiting the world-famous gorilla sanctuary the Virunga National Park. "Three people were kidnapped, including two tourists", park director Emmanuel de Merode said.

However, tourism has suffered badly as militant groups and criminal gangs continue to fund a long-running war by pillaging the park's resources.

Located in Congo's North Kivu province, the park is one of the most important conservation sites in the world, covering 7,800 square kilometres (3,011 miles) - three times the size of Luxembourg.

Just last month five Virunga rangers and a staff driver were killed during an ambush in the Central Sector of the Park.

British media reported that two United Kingdom nationals had been abducted, and the British Foreign Office confirmed that it was "in close contact with the authorities in Democratic Republic of the Congo following an incident involving two British nationals", according to the Reuters news agency.

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There have been a number of killings and kidnappings in recent years.

He said the park is protected by around 800 rangers but there are also estimated to be between 1,500 and 2,000 militia in and around the park.

In 2014, Netflix released Virunga, a documentary on the Virunga park rangers who are tasked with protecting the critically endangered mountain gorilla.

The Foreign Office later confirmed that the incident had involved two British citizens.

It added that British government staff are not always in the area and the British embassy's ability to offer consular assistance may be "severely limited".

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