Suspected rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo killed two game rangers in an attack in Virunga National Park, head of security Gilbert Delis said.
A third ranger is missing after the weekend raids on a post on the south side of Lake Edward, in the northern sector of the park, Delis said by phone from North Kivu province. The attack was led by two Mai Mai rebel groups who are involved in illegal fishing on Lake Edward, an industry with an estimated value of $40 million a year, according to the park’s director, Emmanuel de Merode.
All the ranger positions were recovered Sunday in a joint operation by park security and Congo’s army, he said by phone.
Virunga is home to a quarter of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas and was the subject of a 2014, Oscar-nominated documentary film. Fighting between armed groups and state security forces in the surrounding province presents a threat to the park, where more than 150 park rangers have been killed in the past decade, including more than 10 in the last 12 months, according to authorities.
De Merode said the attack won’t affect tourism in the park’s southern sector where visitors can view gorillas and the Nyiragongo volcano.
“We are still able to maintain the required level of security for operations in the south to continue,” he said.