6 Virunga Rangers Killed in an ambush
6 Virunga Rangers Killed in ambush: On the 10th of January 2021, Virunga national park once again was faced by an unfortunate event where 6 of their dedicated team were attacked. It is with utmost sadness that this confirms the death of all the 6 rangers (6 Virunga Rangers Killed in an ambush) that were attacked.
The fateful Sunday morning at around 7 am, the rangers were patrolling the central part of the park on foot when they encountered these rebels that ambushed them. This was at the Kabuendo site which is close to the park border in between Nyamilima and Niamitwitwi. This is commonly known as the Rutshuru sector of north Kivu.
The rangers being on a routine foot patrol were totally caught off guard by these rebels with almost no defense leaving them powerless to the attackers. No group has owned up to being responsible for this attack and what their motives were however it is said to have been the Mai-Mai groups.
The 6 fallen rangers by name are;
- Burhani Abdou Surumwe, a gentleman aged 30 years.
- Kamate Mundunaenda Alexis, a gentleman aged 25 years.
- Maneno Kataghalirwa Reagan, a gentleman aged 27 years.
- Kibanja Bashekere Eric, a gentleman aged 28 years.
- Paluku Budoyi Innocent, a gentleman aged 28 years.
- Nzabonimpa Ntamakiriro Prince, a gentleman aged 27 years.
The area is long known for its habitation of the Forces of the Democratic Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) a group of individuals against the governance of H.E Paul Kagame, the current president of Rwanda. The Rwanda government has however been a part of the team hunting down this rebel group to put an end to its operations over the times. This has been the first attack in the Virunga national park since the beginning of the year 2021. There was an attack on other ranger guides earlier in the year of 2020 during the close of the park for any tourism activities.
The Virunga national park is still closed after the global pandemic reached the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park authorities saw it important to close the park gates to curb the spread of COVID-19 from the humans to the mountain gorillas. The main source of income for the park and the rangers has been the tourism but even in the closure of the park, the dedicated team has continued to carry out their activities ensuring the protection of the park.
When the park loses the rangers or any individual affiliated and dedicated to it, it is a big loss and they are recognized and kept in memory forever. The ranger guards are the biggest enforcers of peace and security in the national park so their death is a big loss to the park.
This unfortunate occurrence does not mean that the park will not continue to carry out its daily routine to conserve the nature for the benefit of the local communities.
Virunga national park sympathizes with the families of the fallen rangers and pledges to continue ensuring peace and security of the communities living in North Kivu.