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British nationals kidnapped in DR Congo released unharmed

14 May 2018

The tourists, a man and a woman, are believed to have been ambushed by an unidentified group of armed men on Friday morning in Goma, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province, while they were exploring Virunga National Park with another person.

Ranger Rachel Masika Baraka, aged 25, was killed during the kidnapping and a male member of staff from the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (CINC) was injured.

"With Virunga National Park being within our zone of action, we have joined the park rangers for search operations for the people taken hostages", Major Guillaume Kaiko Ndjike, the army's spokesman in North Kivu, said on Saturday.

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A spokesperson for the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) said: "For the moment the [ICCN] can not communicate much about the incident because the hostages are still in captivity".

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Sunday announced that the two Britons held hostage in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been released unharmed.

Mr Johnson said his thoughts were with Ms Baraka's family, the injured driver, "and the released British nationals as they recover from this traumatic incident".

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A statement by Virunga National Park said, they are receiving "support and medical attention".

"We wish to extend our sincerest condolences to her family, and our thoughts are with all those affected by this incident".

Wildlife authorities have tried to protect it but 170 rangers have been killed over the last 20 years, he added. It covers 3,000 square miles on the country's border with Uganda and Rwanda. Mai-Mai militia were blamed for an attack last month in which six guards were killed. The UNESCO World Heritage is home to around a quarter of the world's remaining mountain gorillas, and contains more mammals, reptile and bird species than any protected area on the African continent.

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British nationals kidnapped in DR Congo released unharmed