6 rangers killed in DR Congo’s Virunga gorilla reserve

Rodiano Bonacci
Gennaio 12, 2021

Armed men on Sunday killed at least six rangers and wounded several others in an ambush in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo's Virunga National Park, the world's most important sanctuary for endangered mountain gorillas.

"Preliminary investigations indicate that the Rangers were taken by surprise and had no opportunity to defend themselves, and that those responsible for the attack are local Mai-Mai groups", park authorities said in a statement.

The rangers were ambushed while on foot patrol inside the park, a spokesperson told the BBC.

More than 200 rangers have been killed in the past, including 12 last April in the deadliest such attack in recent memory. Another park warden from the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) was also seriously injured.

Staff working in the park, which is home to endangered mountain gorillas, have often come under attack.

In April a year ago 13 rangers were killed in a rebel ambush. Previous attacks against the rangers have been blamed on various militias who fight to control land and natural resources in eastern DR Congo.

Almost 700 armed rangers work in Virunga - Africa's oldest nature reserve - where at least 200 have been killed in attacks going back more than a decade, AFP reports.

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