VIRUNGA. A vast expanse on the border with Uganda and Rwanda, Virunga is the oldest nature reserve in Africa and is renowned worldwide as a sanctuary for rare species, including mountain gorillas.
Militias — of which dozens are active in eastern Congo — also the use the park as a hideout.
Armed men thought to be “Mai-Mai” fighters attacked a “convoy of technicians assigned to development projects” on Thursday morning in North Kivu province’s Lubero territory, according to the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN).
“Mai-Mai” is a term used in the DRC to refer communal militias.
The ICCN said that three park rangers and one technician were killed in the attack, while six people were wounded.
Colonel Alain Kiwewa Mitela, the military administrator in Lubero territory, also said that four people were killed.
He added that the attack occurred near the village of Kivale, which lies outside the borders of Virunga National Park.
“It is the Mai-Mai who are trying to control these places, but our armed forces are making efforts to subdue them,” he said.
Armed groups have plagued eastern DRC for decades, a legacy of regional wars that flared in the 1990s and 2000s.
M23 rebels have seized swathes of territory in the region since taking up arms again in late 2021, and have overrun large sections of the park
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