Two British hostages in Congo released - Johnson

May 14, 2018, 05:14
Two British hostages in Congo released - Johnson

The men were gorilla trekking at Virunga National Park on the eastern border when their convoy was ambushed by armed militants. The driver remains missing.

Two British men kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been released, the foreign secretary said today.

"I pay tribute to the DRC authorities and the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation for their tireless help during this awful case", he said.

The pair, who have not been named, were kidnapped in Virunga National Park.

'My deepest condolences are with the family, friends and colleagues of Rachel Makisa Baraka, the Virunga ranger killed during the kidnapping.

Mr Johnson said his thoughts were with Ms Baraka's family, the injured driver, "and the released British nationals as they recover from this traumatic incident".

Congolese authorities have yet to disclose the identity of the kidnappers, while the missing driver's whereabouts also remained unclear.

Rachel Katumura was killed while trying to protect the British tourists
Rachel Katumura was killed while trying to protect the British tourists Credit Facebook

Security guard Katumwa, 25, was killed defending the British pair, becoming the first female ranger in the history of the park to be murdered by bandits.

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

A number of kidnappings have taken place in the park in the past six weeks.

Last month, five young rangers and a driver in the park were killed in an ambush.

It is a Unesco world heritage site and home to critically-endangered mountain gorillas, as well as lions, elephants and hippos.

A spokesperson for the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) said: "For the moment the [ICCN] can not communicate much about the incident because the hostages are still in captivity".

A fifth of the park's southern sector was deforested owing to illegal charcoal production, the park said.

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