Ranger killed in Virunga


Militiamen killed a ranger in Congo’s Virunga National Park, the park said, less than a month since reopening after being shut down due to security concerns.

Virunga, abutting the forest-cloaked volcanoes of the western Rift Valley, is home to over half the world’s population of mountain gorillas and unique species including the golden monkey. It was closed for eight months after gunmen kidnapped tourists and killed a ranger trying to defend them last May.

Ranger Freddy Mahamba Muliro was killed while manning a security post, one of 176 rangers killed protecting the park since it was established in 1925, Chief Warden Emmanuel Merode said.

The identity of the assailants remained unclear.

“We are in mourning,” Merode said in a statement. “Ranger Freddy’s death marks another devastating loss for our rangers.”

Warfare in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo between 1996 and 2003 killed millions, mainly through hunger and disease. Since tourism was relaunched in 2014, Virunga received over 17,000 visitors.

Armed militias still control large swathes of territory in and around the park.