News

REBELS INVADE GORILLAS OF THE MOUNTAIN\’s CENTRE

Posted in 06/11/2008


CONGO REPUBLIC, AFRICA

In a violent action, rebel army, of the minority Tutsi, commanded by Congolese general Laurent Nkunda, invaded the operation centre of Virunga Park Forest Police, which takes care of 200 gorillas of the mountain. The forest officers had to hide in the vegetation not be caught and killed. Currently Virunga National Park is on the hands of rebels and the official Congolese army and the forest officers had to retreat to the city of Goma, which is also surrounded by the rebels.

Virunga National Park is 7800 square kilometers and hosts 200 of the 700 existing gorillas of the mountain, a species threatened to extinction. Fifty forest officers maintain the operation centre and patrol the area where the gorillas move, to avoid hunters and deforestation.

Nkunda rebel army has been near the Park, but never decided to invade it, as it did now. Samantha Newport, park speaker, communicated by telephone from Goma, 40 kilometers from the park and from where she had to run away: "The situation on east Congo is too dangerous". She also qualified the rebel actions as extremely audacious, because until this moment they had respected the park. The great danger, according to her, is that the gorillas become victims in the battle between the rebels and the congolose army.

Since 1998, the congolese conflict resulted in the death of 5.4 million people and more 45.000 die each month because of the fights between the factions Hutus and Tusis, which also caused the death of almost one million people years ago in the neighbor Ruanda.

United Nations efforts are not sufficient to re-establish the order and international mediation has not been working as well as it was expected. Only a massive intervention by the world community will be able to set peace in the area.