Rangers in Congo’s Virunga Preserve Killed by Rebels

At least two rangers were killed by rebels fighting at a National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Virunga National Park, where the attack occurred, has seen widespread conflict for the past decade. In a 2014 Netflix documentary for the fierce battles waged by wildlife protectors against Congolese rebel forces.

Being a park ranger at Virunga is more like being a soldier, more proof of which came March 12-13. More than 150 rangers have been killed here over the past 10 years.

The DRC has been engulfed in ongoing conflict nearly since its inception and in recent years often spilling into the reserve, which is home to rare wildlife including mountain gorillas.

The attack this week occurred at Lake Edward in Virunga, which is used as a landing area for transportation. Some 120 rebels reportedly attacked a guard base capturing three rebels, according to a report by National Geographic. 

Two of the rangers were summarily executed while the outcome of the third was unknown. Government forces recaptured the area soon after, killing a single rebel in the process. 

In a statement following the incident park director Emmanuel de Merode struck a resolute tone. 

“Our rangers stand fearlessly on the frontline of the protection of civilians and their resources knowing that they are at risk of extreme violence,” he said in a statement. “The situation is deplorable, and we must honor their sacrifice by attempting to reduce this threat of violence.”

To contribute to their efforts visit Virunga.org

© Steven Prorak | Dreamstime.com – Young Mountain Gorilla in the Forest