British nationals kidnapped in DR Congo released unharmed

British tourists kidnap Congo Ebola outbreak

British tourists kidnap Congo Ebola outbreak

Unidentified armed men ambushed the group on Friday morning north of Goma, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province, inside Virunga National Park.

The two freed British hostages said they were "very grateful for the excellent support" they had received.

Rebel groups and militias control large swathes of the country's east and more than 175 rangers have died protecting Virunga National Park, which is adjacent to neighboring Rwanda and Uganda, since it was founded in 1925.

Park ranger Rachel Masika Baraka was killed by the kidnappers; a driver was injured and released.

Foreign secretary Boris 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".

The UK's top diplomat Boris Johnson declined to offer any further details, but paid tribute to the Congolese authorities "for their tireless help during this bad case".

The pair, whose release was arranged by guards at Virunga National Park, are uninjured and no ransom was paid, ITV News Africa Correspondent John Ray said.

The Foreign Office had been in contact with local authorities since the event took place.

In April, Mr de Merode, told the BBC World Service that recent attacks were part of "a bigger picture which involves the trafficking of natural resources".

The park, which is a Unesco world heritage site, is home to critically-endangered mountain gorillas, lions, elephants and hippos.

Wildlife authorities have tried to protect it but 170 rangers have been killed over the last 20 years, he added.

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