Tragedy strikes Virunga National Park, Two Rangers Shot

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Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Democratic Republic of Congo, continues to face violence as two guards were shot and killed in the latest incident.

The park released a statement on Sunday confirming that the guards were shot and could not survive their injuries.

The attack took place in Nyamusengera, a section near the Edward River, which forms the border with Uganda.

The Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) believes that the Mai-Mai, an armed group, is responsible for the attack.

Kambale Muhindo, a resident of Vitshumbi, a nearby fishing village, reported that a group of poachers attempted to kill a hippopotamus and ambushed the guards to protect themselves.

Blaise Kalisha, a human rights activist, stated that six guards were injured and taken to the Vitshumbi Catholic hospital for treatment.

This incident follows a series of attacks and ambushes on park guards by various armed groups since 2020.

On May 18 of this year, three guards and one park employee lost their lives in an attack, with authorities attributing the violence to the same armed group.

In February, the ICCN warned of a resurgence of violence after a ranger was killed in a separate attack by suspected Mai-Mai fighters.

Virunga National Park, established in 1925, has held UNESCO World Heritage status since 1979.

It is renowned for its diverse fauna and picturesque landscapes, encompassing dense forests, glaciers, and volcanoes.

The park boasts a higher number of bird species, reptiles, and mammals compared to any other protected area globally.

Unfortunately, it has also become a base for numerous armed groups over the past two decades, endangering its natural wonders and the lives of those protecting it.