Rangers killed in res­cue mis­sion

Five in Congo left dead in oper­a­tion to free jour­nal­ist

The Witness - - NEWS -

KINSHASA — Five park rangers were killed in a joint oper­a­tion with the army to res­cue an Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist and three park rangers, who went miss­ing in a wildlife re­serve in eastern Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic of Congo, a lo­cal of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day.

Uniden­ti­fied gun­men at­tacked the group late on Fri­day in the Okapi Wildlife Re­serve in Mam­basa ter­ri­tory. Some oth­ers in the group es­caped.

Mam­basa ad­min­is­tra­tor Al­fred Bong­walanga said se­cu­rity forces and park rangers had launched a res­cue oper­a­tion that lo­cated the miss­ing mem­bers of the group. It was not im­me­di­ately clear how the rangers were killed.

“There are five dead. They are all park rangers who were in­volved in the oper­a­tion. They had been back­ing the army,” he told Reuters by tele­phone.

Eastern Congo has been the the­atre of nu­mer­ous wars and up­ris­ings over the last two decades, and rebels, mili­tia fight­ers and ban­dits still present a se­cu­rity risk in many ar­eas.

Park rangers try­ing to pro­tect dwin­dling pop­u­la­tions of ele­phants and go­ril­las of­ten clash with poach­ers and other armed crim­i­nals who ex­ploit min­er­als, wildlife and other re­sources.

— Reuters.

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