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刚果野生动物保护区遇袭 美国记者失踪

2017-07-16 12:42[CGTN] 来源: 浏览: 次 评论:

An American journalist and three guards were missing after armed men attacked a group of journalists and park rangers in a remote wildlife reserve in east Democratic Republic of Congo overnight into Saturday, a local official said.

The group attacked comprised the American and two Dutch journalists and 13 Congolese park rangers. They were near the town of Mambasa in Okapi Wildlife Reserve, Mambasa territory administrator Alfred Bongwalanga told Reuters news agency by telephone.

The two Dutch journalists and all but three of the rangers had been found and were safe. Bongwalanga did not know which of the several armed groups roaming eastern DR Congo was responsible.

The Congo Basin and its forest ecosystems. /VCG Photo

Kidnapping of locals and Westerners for ransom has been on the rise in eastern DR Congo, a tinderbox of rebel groups and militias left over from a 1998-2003 war.

But Bongwalanga said there was no evidence the journalist or guards had been kidnapped.

"I can't confirm any hypothesis that this was a kidnapping ... That does sometimes happen in Ituri (province where the reserve lies) but it has been more than a year since the last one," he said.

Kidnapping of Westerners is not only a concern in DR Congo. A Polish Catholic priest was kidnapped in Central African Republic in 2014, who was later freed in Cameroon by local military personnel. /VCG Photo

"The army has deployed. Search and rescue efforts are underway but this is a dense forest," Bongwalanga added, "We remain optimistic that we will find them."

In May armed bandits killed a Congolese park ranger and briefly kidnapped two conservation workers, including a Frenchman, during an ambush on South Kivu's Itombwe Reserve.

Park rangers in east DR Congo trying to protect dwindling populations of elephants and gorillas often clash with poachers and other armed criminals who exploit the area's minerals, wildlife and other resources.

(Source: Reuters)


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