UNESCO reported on January 11, 2021 that Rangers of the Virunga National Park were ambushed near Kabuendo while patrolling inside the park.
To spread the awareness about destructive actions towards Cultural Heritage, we want to quote the UNESCO news about what recently happened with Virguna National Park in Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The text of the UNESCO news below.
This new attack recalls the terrible events of April 24, 2020, against civilians, and of July 28, 2020, against the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), as well as the multitude of attacks against rangers resulting in dozens of deaths since the start of the conflict in this region. UNESCO wishes to pay tribute to the 6 rangers killed and the one injured in the line of duty and to express its sincere condolences to their families and colleagues. It is with the utmost firmness that UNESCO once again condemns these atrocious acts which target women and men dedicated to safeguarding our common heritage. UNESCO will continue to endorse the efforts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in strengthening the security of personnel responsible for the protection of its natural sites.
The World Heritage Centre has been working for two decades to increase the protection of guards and staff, reinforce infrastructure, and support, mainly financially, impacted communities thanks to the United Nations Foundation and the governments of Italy, Belgium and Spain, as well as than the Rapid Response Facility (RRF). In order to support local communities and fight against a worrying entrenchment of violence, UNESCO is launching a new project on “Strengthening the resilience of the communities of the World Heritage Property of the Virunga National Park through the regeneration of income-earning activities” thanks to the financial support from the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH).
Virunga National Park was the first National Park to be established in Africa. It has been inscribed on the World Heritage List since 1979 due to its exceptional biodiversity, with numerous endemic and rare species such as the mountain gorilla. Armed attacks against the ICCN and FARDC staff operating in the parks, have amplified in recent years.
Source: UNESCO World Heritage Centre
About Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park is located in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Virunga is the continent’s most biologically diverse protected area and a national park embarking on an ambitious development programme known as the “Virunga Alliance”.
Situated in a region which has been deeply impacted by the effects of war and armed conflict for over 20 years, Virunga is currently protected by a dedicated team of 689 Rangers. These local men and women go through intensive training, risking their lives on a daily basis to safeguard the Park’s exceptional wildlife, including the last of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas.
Alongside this essential conservation work, the Park is committed to supporting local communities. Virunga has a vision for responsibly harnessing the Park’s natural resources to create new opportunities for the four million people that live within a day’s walk of its borders.
Focussing on three key areas: hydropower, sustainable agriculture and fisheries, and tourism, Virunga National Park is working to economically transform the region – creating jobs and reducing poverty rates. This innovative, community focussed approach to conservation is working to reduce the pressures currently faced by the Park’s Rangers from armed groups, illegal poaching, and land encroachment.
Source: Virunga National Park