Rebel forces attacked a conservation outpost in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda at dawn on Monday, according to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). Two Americans, four Britons, and two New Zealanders, all of them tourists, were killed after being abducted. In addition, a community conservation warden was killed by the attackers. Ugandan authorities blamed Rwandan Hutu rebels for the killings.
Park buildings and two safari camps were destroyed, and vehicles and radios were burned in the attack at Buhoma, located 108 km west of Kabale. African Wildlife Foundation identified the community conservation warden killed in the attack as Paul Wagabe.
Bwindi is home to half of the world's remaining 620 mountain gorillas. African Wildlife Foundation's conservation efforts are conducted in the park by the International Gorilla Conservation Program.* "We condemn this act of political violence," says Michael Wright, president of the African Wildlife Foundation. "We are very concerned about those whose lives are in jeopardy, not to mention the welfare of the gorillas."
All the remaining mountain gorilla population lives in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Until now, Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was the only park where mountain gorilla tourism was unaffected by civil unrest.
African Wildlife Foundation has been conducting mountain gorilla conservation with park authorities since the 1970's.
Stock photographs of Uganda's mountain gorillas available on request.
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