Two British tourists have been kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of Congo while visiting Virunga National Park, a military official has confirmed.
Major Guillaume Djike, Congolese army spokesperson in North Kivu told iRwanda.com on Friday authorities were hunting down the kidnappers.
He said a female park ranger who traveling with tourists was killed by the kidnappers. Virunga national park is a renowned gorilla sanctuary in the east of the DRC.
UK Foreign Office said in a statement: “We are in close contact with the authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo following an incident involving two British nationals, and our staff are providing support to their families.”
Virunga is a Unesco world heritage site and one of the most important conservation areas in the world, covering 7,800 sq km (3,011 sq miles), along the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo with Uganda and Rwanda.
Established in 1925, it 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.
Last month, five rangers and a driver were killed in an ambush in Virunga national park and a sixth ranger was injured in the attack.
“We are profoundly saddened by the loss of our colleagues. Virunga has lost some extraordinarily brave rangers who were deeply committed to working in service of their communities.
It is unacceptable that Virunga’s rangers continue to pay the highest price in defence of our common heritage,” said Emmanuel de Merode, the chief warden in a statement following the attack in April.