Very Sad and Shocking News - Park Rangers Killed in Virunga National Park, DRC, while protecting the Park.

Stephen Quinn
March 13, 2011 share

It is with get sadness that I must report on the shocking news sent to me by Molly Feltner at MGVP headquarters in Rwanda. 11 rangers have been killed in the central sector of Virunga National Park, DRC since January, not far from where Jeff and I were. I received this disturbing and sad news late on Friday and I feel terrible that I found out so late as it happened just a few weeks after we left. We have heard that no one we knew was killed, but one of the rangers MGVP works with was in one of the trucks that got shot up. It doesn’t sound like any of the guys who helped us out on Mt Mikeno were involved.

In the first violent incident on January 24th 8 park rangers were killed in an ambush in the park. It is thought that they were ambushed by a FDLR Rwandan militia, perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, who have taken up hiding in DRC in the national park to avoid prosecution for their crimes.  During the attack, their patrol vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and ambushed approximately one kilometer north of Mabenga, just inside the park border. The rangers were being deployed along a road that passes through the national park in an attempt to secure a safe passage for the public.   

 It's an extremely sad and tragic event, as these rangers are so dedicated and willing to risk their safety to protect the Park. They are really wonderful guys. Hearing this just hit so close to home and highlights the dedication required by the ICCN and MGVP to do their job. These rangers were willing to risk their lives, with little reward, under very dangerous conditions and made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the park and it's wildlife. We are all environmentalists and passionate about wildlife but how many of us would make that sacrifice? I honestly do not think I could do it. It's hard to imagine anyone could and I wouldn't have believed it possible had I not met these people during our expedition. Having just been there it all feels too close for comfort and just shocking, as I was oblivious to any danger while I was there. 

Please say a prayer for the families of these rangers who lost their lives and those that continue the courageous work of protecting Virunga National Park and it’s endangered Mountain Gorillas. If I can find a way that we can help in some way I will post it here ASAP. If we can, we must help.

 

| Print friendly Email to a friend | Add a Comment   | Subscribe: Subscribe to email notifications Subscribe to RSS feed
© Copyright 2017 Artists for Conservation Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved. "Artists for Conservation", "AFC" and the butterfly logo are registered trademarks of Artists for Conservation Foundation, Inc. AFC International Foundation is a registered charity in Canada (860891761 RR 0001).