Monday 23 September 2019

Two Britons kidnapped in Democratic Republic of Congo released

The Democratic Republic of Congo Photo: Getty images
The Democratic Republic of Congo Photo: Getty images

Two Britons kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a visit to a national park have been released, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said.

The pair were taken hostage in renowned gorilla sanctuary Virunga National Park to the east of the country on Friday.

A female park ranger travelling with the pair was killed and their driver injured when the two British citizens were seized.

Mr Johnson said on Sunday: "I am delighted to announce that two British nationals who were held hostage in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been released.

"I pay tribute to the DRC authorities and the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation for their tireless help during this terrible case.

"My thoughts are now with the family of Virunga Park ranger Rachel Makissa Baraka who was killed during the kidnapping, and with the injured driver and the released British nationals as they recover from this traumatic incident."

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that it provided support to both Britons and their families throughout their ordeal.

The British ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo John Murton said: "The UK would like to thank the DRC authorities and MONUSCO (The United Nations peace keeping mission) for their assistance in resolving this kidnapping.

"I would like in particular to praise the courage and commitment shown by the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation and the Virunga Park authorities over the past three days.

"My deepest condolences are with the family, friends and colleagues of Rachel Makisa Baraka, the Virunga ranger killed during the kidnapping. I wish the driver injured during the incident a speedy recovery. The bravery and determination of all the staff of Virunga is vital for the conservation of animals in the park, and the protection of local communities."

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