Six park rangers have been killed after an attack at the famous Virunga National Park in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Officials have blamed the attack on a militia group known as Mai-Mai, one of many that operate in the region.

The rangers were ambushed while on foot patrol inside the park, a spokesperson told the BBC.

Staff working in the park, which is home to endangered mountain gorillas, have often come under attack.

In April last year, 13 rangers were killed in a rebel ambush.

Several armed groups operate in the restive eastern region of DR Congo where Virunga National Park – a Unesco World Heritage site – is based.

A statement from the park said preliminary investigations suggested the rangers « were taken by surprise and had no opportunity to defend themselves » during the Sunday morning attack.

It said another ranger who was seriously injured in the attack was receiving treatment and expected to make a full recovery,

A local government delegate Alphonse Kambale told AFP news agency that two Mai-Mai militants had also been killed.

Nearly 700 armed rangers work in Virunga – Africa’s oldest nature reserve – where at least 200 have been killed in attacks going back more than a decade, AFP reports.


This story was originally published at BBC

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