DR Congo: Foreign Office probes reports Britons kidnapped

IUCN Red List

IUCN Red List

Joel Wengamulay, a spokesman for the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation, told Radio Okapi their vehicle was ambushed en route from Kibumba to Goma after visiting a gorilla sanctuary inside the park.

"With Virunga National Park being within our zone of action, we have joined the park rangers for search operations for the people taken hostages", Major Guillaume Kaiko Ndjike, the army's spokesman in North Kivu, said on Saturday.

Their vehicle was ambushed while bringing the tourists from Kibumba to the city of Goma, Joel Wengamulay, spokesman for the Congolese Institute for The Conservation of Nature, told the United Nations -backed Radio Okapi.

Local media reports say the ranger shot dead was female and acting as a guard, while the United Kingdom citizens were taken along with their Congolese driver.

Two British citizens have been kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of Congo, sources have said.

Unidentified armed men ambushed the group on Friday morning north of Goma, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province, inside Virunga National Park.

Last year, a fifth of the park's southern sector was deforested owing to illegal charcoal production, the park said.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was in contact with DRC authorities on the incident and was providing support to families of the victims.

Founded in 1925, it is home to to around a quarter of the world's critically endangered mountain gorillas and other endangered species as well as lions, elephants, hippos and a host of rare bird species.

Park rangers at the Virunga National Park.

The park reportedly witnessed multiple kidnappings over the past two months, attributed to Mai-Mai militia.

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