Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Two British hostages in Congo released

Ebola Congo British tourists kidnap GETTY TAKEN Two British tourists have been kidnapped a gorilla sanctuary in the Congo
Glenn Montgomery | 14 May, 2018, 06:01

Two British nationals kidnapped in Congo have been released, the UK Foreign Office has said.

The men were gorilla trekking at Virunga National Park on the eastern border when their convoy was ambushed by armed militants.

The vacationers and their driver have been kidnapped in Virunga Nationwide Park in Congo.

A female park ranger travelling with the pair was killed and their driver injured when the two men were seized.

The UK's top diplomat Boris Johnson declined to offer any further details, but paid tribute to the Congolese authorities "for their tireless help during this awful case".

The park has seen rising violence in recent months - eight rangers have been killed since the start of 2018 - as armed groups attempt to steal resources like charcoal.

The attack brought the number of rangers murdered in the park up to 175 in 20 years.

"We wish to extend our sincerest condolences to her family, and our thoughts are with all those affected by this incident".

He said the park was protected by around 800 rangers but there were also estimated to be between 1,500 and 2,000 militia members in and around the park.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman told AFP that the two Britons were released unharmed and the ministry would continue to provide support to the Britons and their families.

Soldiers at an Army base a few hundred yards from where the latest kidnapping took place were criticised for their slow response.

Established in 1925, 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.

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