Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

Kidnappers free tourists captured on wildlife trek

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Jay Anderson | 14 May, 2018, 05:59

Two British male tourists who were kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Friday have been set free, Britain's foreign minister Boris Johnson confirmed Sunday.

In peacetime, the Virunga National Park has barely fended off the local warlords and gangsters seeking to strip it off its valuable timber or the government officials and vested corporate interests seeking to exploit its oil.

A park ranger, Rachel Makissa Baraka, was killed during the kidnapping while trying to stop the kidnappers from grabbing the tourists.

Boris Johnson did not supply any additional particulars within the assertion launched Sunday, however paid tribute to the authorities from the African nation and the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation "for his or her tireless assist throughout this terrible case".

The 25-year-old ranger is the eighth to be murdered at the park this year.

"I have received information that the two British tourists have been released".




Bethan Davies and Robert Jesty were among three people held when their vehicle was ambushed in Virunga National Park on Friday. The kidnapping took place near the village of Kibati, north of Goma, in North Kivu.

In April, Mr de Merode, told the BBC World Service that recent attacks were part of "a bigger picture which involves the trafficking of natural resources".

She was transferred to a nearby hospital to receive emergency medical treatment, but died shortly afterwards of her injuries, the park said.

Wildlife authorities have tried to protect it but 170 rangers have been killed over the last 20 years, he added.

It said that United Kingdom government staff were not always in the area and the British embassy's ability to offer consular assistance could be "severely limited".

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