4 people killed in eastern DRC ambush near Gorilla Park

 Assailants killed three rangers and another member of their convoy in an ambush in the volatile east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to the Congo Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN).

The attackers struck on Thursday as the convoy, escorted by ICCN rangers, left Kivandya village near Virunga National Park, which is home to half the global population of endangered mountain gorillas and the scene of frequent militia attacks.

The fourth victim was one of the technical workers implement­ing a project to support commu­nities around Virunga, ICCN said in a statement late Thursday. A further six people were wounded, it said.

Virunga has been caught in the middle of militia activity that has destabilised the surrounding South Kivu province since civil wars were fought around the turn of the century.

The ICCN warned of a resur­gence of violence in February after suspected Mai Mai militants attacked a ranger position in Virunga, killing one person and injuring two.

The eastern DRC has been plagued by fighting by at least 122 rebel groups – according to a re­cent count by the United Nations (UN) – for more than 25 years.

The authorities in the Demo­cratic Republic of Congo say sus­pected militiamen have killed an engineer and three rangers from the Virunga National Park.

The Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) said armed men, thought to be Mai Mai fighters, attacked a con­voy of its workers on Thursday morning.

Virunga is the oldest nature reserve in Africa and a renowned sanctuary for rare species, such as mountain gorillas. It has also become a hideout for the Mai Mai militias.

Various armed groups have plagued eastern Congo for de­cades.


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