British tourists kidnapped in Congo freed

British tourists kidnapped in Congo freed

The kidnapping of two British tourists in the Democratic Republic of Congo last week is the latest blow to a heroic battle to save Africa's oldest and most spectacular national park.

A female ranger travelling with them was killed and their driver was also taken captive, a park spokesman said.

He said that "my thoughts are now with the family of Virunga Park ranger Rachel Makissa Baraka who was killed during the kidnapping, and with the injured driver".

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 bad case".

"Delighted that two British nationals held hostage in DRC have been released", Johnson posted on Twitter.

Major Guillaume Kaiko Ndjike, the Congolese army's spokesman in North Kivu, said: With Virunga National Park being within our zone of action, we have joined the park rangers for search operations for the people taken hostages.

Modi visits Nepal to restore neighbourly ties
He also said that the work has begun on the detailed project report for linking Kathmandu to India via rail network. Adityanath received the Janakpur-Ayodhya Bus flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.

Park director Emmanuel de Merode said: "Ranger Baraka's life was tragically cut short in service to Virunga National Park".

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

Fighting in the DRC's North Kivu province, located near the DRC's border with Rwanda and Uganda, has also left hundreds of people displaced from their homes and spilled into the park.

Founded in 1925, the Viruga National Park is a Unesco heritage site and one of the most important conservation sites in the world. Virunga Park is home to about one-quarter of the world's remaining mountain gorillas, and the work of protecting them has proven unsafe.

Congolese authorities are working with the Foreign Office to repatriate the British tourists, according to a park statement.

The park has seen rising violence in recent months as armed groups stage raids to steal resources, particularly charcoal. Mai-Mai militia were blamed for an attack last month in which six guards were killed.

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