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British tourists abducted in Congolese Wildlife Park

British tourists abducted in Congolese Wildlife Park

Two British tourists are reported to have been taken hostage in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On its website, it has advised against "all but essential travel" to some Eastern cities amid an increase in reports of attacks by armed groups as well as military and police stop-and-search checkpoints.

Joel Wengamulay, spokesman for the Congolese Institute for The Conservation of Nature, advised the United Nations -backed Radio Okapi that the kidnapping occurred Friday within the Nyiragongo territory simply north of Goma.

De Merode, a Belgian national, was himself wounded in a road ambush between the park and Goma, the capital of North Kivu, in May 2014.

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

A female park ranger travelling with the pair was killed, local media reported.

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It covers 3,000 square miles on the country's border with Uganda and Rwanda.

One wildlife park guard was killed and two British tourists and their driver were abducted in Virunga National Park in Congo, a park spokesman said Friday.

In an interview with National Geographic previous year, Virunga National Park Director Emmanuel de Merode said three main groups are responsible for the violence in the park.

Founded in 1925, it is home to about a quarter of the world's critically endangered mountain gorillas.

Rising violence in recent months across the province of North Kivu has been linked to broader political instability in DR Congo.

Mai-Mai militia were blamed for an attack in which five rangers and a driver were killed in an ambush in the park. Before taking the tourists, they murdered the park ranger, Rachel Katumwa, 25, who had accompanied them there.


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