AFRICA/DR CONGO - Congolese NGO: "Virunga Park, a World Heritage Site, under-threat"

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - At least two British tourists were taken hostage in Virunga natural park in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A statement sent to Agenzia Fides by CEPADHO (Center for Studies on the promotion of peace, democracy and human rights, a local NGO), says that the convoy of the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) was caught in an ambush just before 10:00 on May 11th, in Kamahoro, in the territory of Nyiragongo, in North Kivu.
"According to the news received by CEPADHO, the ambush was probably committed by a commando of the FDLR (Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda) and targeted the convoy of the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) from Virunga Park in the direction of the city of Goma".
"The rebels fired a few shots to force the convoy to stop: a brave forest ranger was shot and died shortly thereafter; while two British tourists were kidnapped", says CEPADHO.
The Congolese NGO "believes that the continuous attacks against ICCN personnel are carried out to destabilize and discourage this institution in its action to protect Virunga Park. To this end, it is important that the Congolese state immediately undertakes an effort to denounce the perpetrators of this conspiracy in order to neutralize them".
Since 1979 the Park has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 12/5/2018)