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Deadly Attack on Ranger Patrol in DRC's Virunga National Park Leaves Eight Dead

  • Tuesday, January 25, 2011

AWF Joins Conservation Partners in Extending Deepest Condolences to the ICCN Family

Democratic Republic of the Congo--African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has confirmed that yesterday three rangers and five soldiers were killed during an attack on their patrol vehicle in a sector of Virunga National Park within the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The event took place near Rwindi in the Central Sector of Virunga National Park, outside the Mikeno Sector, where AWF conducts its mountain gorilla conservation work through the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (a coalition of AWF, Fauna & Flora International, and the World Wide Fund for Nature). Deeply saddened by the loss of life, AWF has confirmed that no IGCP staff were hurt or involved in the attack.

Although this is the most severe attack in the last year, IGCP work in DRC will continue as usual, according to IGCP Director Eugene Rutagarama. AWF and its partners are monitoring the situation closely.

Some 400 Park Rangers protect Virunga National Park in eastern DRC, a region affected by a 12-year civil war and political instability. The victims of yesterday's attack join the ranks of the 130 rangers who have already given their lives in the line of duty since the war began in 1996.

"Our deepest condolences to our partner organizations," said AWF's Regional Director of Eastern Africa Programs Daudi Sumba. "True conservation heroes have been lost."

"These attacks, even if they take place outside of mountain gorilla territory, still have an impact on mountain gorilla conservation," adds IGCP Communication Officer Anna Behm Masozera. "It justifiably diverts ICCN resources and personnel to the more northern sectors of the park. Therefore, IGCP support to ICCN activities in Mikeno Sector are incredibly important."

AWF will advise supporters of any further developments.

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