British tourists abducted in Congolese Wildlife Park

Sheri EvansMay 13, 2018

The Britons were among three people abducted by unidentified armed men while reportedly visiting Virunga National Park, a renowned gorilla sanctuary in the east of the country.

Soldiers and park rangers are taking part in an operation to find two United Kingdom tourists kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It spans (3,000 square miles 7,800 kilometres) along the border with Uganda and Rwanda.

Britain's global and Commonwealth Workplace says it's in touch with Congolese authorities following an incident involving two British nationals.

Their vehicle was ambushed north of the city of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, on Friday.

Virunga is home to about a quarter of the world's population of critically-endangered mountain gorillas, as well as to eastern lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, okapis, lions, elephants and hippos.

Mr Mbiye, a father of five, told The Sunday Telegraph last night: "I was driving from Kibumba, heading to the volcano around 9am with a young British couple and a ranger when four heavily armed guys jumped on the road and started shooting in our direction".

Congolese soldiers and park rangers have launched an operation to locate two British tourists kidnapped in the country's volatile eastern borderlands, an army spokesman said.

BBC Africa editor Will Ross said poachers are also active in the park, which is under threat due to the illegal felling of trees to make charcoal and plans for oil exploration.

Virunga has experienced waves of violence and crime linked to local unrest. Park officials blamed Mai Mai militia members. Before taking the tourists, they murdered the park ranger, Rachel Katumwa, 25, who had accompanied them there.

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