JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Suspected rebels in Congo killed a wildlife ranger returning from a mission to track endangered gorillas, a conservation group said Friday.
The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, or WCS, said the ranger, Oscar Mianziro, was fatally shot on Thursday in Kahuzi-Biega National Park in eastern Congo, where many rebel groups operate.
The park guard was killed while investigating a truck that had been looted and left on the side of a park road, WCS representative Andrew Plumptre said. The park does not have enough rangers and equipment to clear the park of militants, though the Congolese military has provided some assistance, he said.
The Wildlife Conservation Society supports efforts to protect Grauer's gorillas, the biggest of the different gorilla types, in Kahuzi-Biega park. The gorilla population is under pressure from illegal hunting and mining activity that is shrinking its habitat.
Rangers in other Congolese parks, including Garamba and Virunga, also face threats from armed groups.