British tourists kidnapped by gang in Congo have been RELEASED

Sergio Conner
May 14, 2018

Robert Jesty and Bethan Davies were abducted along with their driver on Friday while visiting Africa's oldest national park.

Park ranger Rachel Masika Baraka was killed by the kidnappers; a driver was injured and released.

A park ranger, Rachel Makissa Baraka, was killed during the kidnapping while trying to stop the kidnappers from grabbing the tourists.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he was "delighted to announce" their release.

Their vehicle was ambushed north of the city of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, on Friday.

The British Foreign Office confirmed it was in touch with the Congolese authorities following the incident and said its staff were supporting the tourists' families.

She was transferred to a nearby hospital to receive emergency medical treatment, but died shortly afterwards of her injuries, the park said.

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A female wildlife ranger accompanying the pair was killed.

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.

"The opportunities for gorilla trekking in the Virunga National Park in North Kivu are limited, and armed groups are sometimes active within the park", the advice says.

We wish to extend our deepest condolences to her family and our sincerest gratitude for her bravery and service to Congo.

Tourism in the area have been severely affected in recent years by the rising violence caused by presence of militant groups and criminal gangs, who continue to fund a long-running war by pillaging the park's resources.

One of the most important conservation sites in the world, Virunga Park covers 7,800 square kilometres (3,000 miles) along a swathe of eastern DR Congo abutting the border with Uganda and Rwanda.

The park, which is a Unesco world heritage site, is home to critically-endangered mountain gorillas, lions, elephants and hippos.

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