Congo insecurity issues have struck the news headlines again with the kidnap of two Briton travelers and the killing of their driver guide in Virunga national park. The incident happened on 11th may 2018 at 10:00am in Kibumba village a few miles form Goma. The kidnapped travelers were headed the starting point of their Nyiragongo Volcano which they had arranged with the management of Virunga national park. The female park ranger was killed instantly while the driver guide was shot and injured seriously in the shoulders after which he was dumped helplessly in the park. The latest kidnap happen a month after a month when 5 park rangers of Virunga national park were attacked and killed by unknown people. Its reported that as soon the traveler’s vehicle entered into the national park, armed men opened fire on it killing the park ranger and then disappearing with travelers to unknown place. The last kidnap is the first time in over 20 years that rebels have seized western since 1999 when eight western travelers 3 of whom where Britons were abducted in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in south western Uganda.
The continuous insecurity issues in Congo is the key reason for less visits to the park and hence low tourism development in Democratic Republic of Congo. The continued presence of armed groups, military operations and other inter communal violence is a great threat to gorilla tours in Virunga national park and tourism in democratic republic of Congo. Virunga national park has all along been know as hiding place for dozens of militia and revel groups from Congo and the neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.
The kidnap of travelers is also a setback for tour operators Tour operators offering safari packages to Congo. Many trips are likely to cancel since all tourist origins have been alerted about the incidence. Just a day after the incident, many travelers have already propose cancelations for their gorilla treks and Nyiragongo hiking trips to ensure safety. Also, the kidnap of travelers in the national park was a great disappointment to some past travelers who had seen and reviewed Virunga as the safest gorilla destination in Africa. For the last over 6 years, gorilla tourism has been done successful with no insecurity related issues which had raised hope for the booming gorilla tourism in Democratic Republic of Congo
Also, traveler’s proceeding with their safaris to Congo is cautioned to be careful and confirm the area is safe before travelling to the area. Virunga national park is Congo’s key tourism destination sheltering the highest number of travelers to have an off beaten encounter with these critically endangered mountain gorillas. The national park covers Congo’s share on the Virunga conservation area and is one of the four national parks that shelter these endangered species. The other gorilla national parks are volcanoes national park in Rwanda, and Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park.
There is great hope to save the lives of these innocent travelers following the Congolese army launching of an operation to chase the rebel group and rescue these travelers. This an unrevealed militia group since the Congolese army good news is that the Congolese operations with the support of the government and the united nations have launched a team to rescue the two travelers and their driver from the kidnappers. Some source also reports that the kidnappers were asking a ransom of $200,000 before releasing travelers.