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