Goma – The DR Congo has once again accused Rwandan rebels based in the eastern part of the country, for the deadly attacks that saw 12 rangers and five others killed at the world-famous Virunga national park.
Citing a preliminary investigation, Major General Maurice Aguru Mamba told a news conference on Monday that those who attacked Virunga National park on April 24, were fighters from a “specialised unit” of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
“Our sources are credible,” said Aguru Mamba who commands CORPPN, a corps assigned to the protection of national parks and natural reserves.
Mamba’s revelation follows prior denial by the FDLR, who claimed they had “nothing to do with these events.” According to the FDLR, “the area of Rutshuru (site of the attack) is under the control of Rwandan soldiers.”
However, President Paul Kagame has denied these persistent ‘rumours’ from the FDLR, whose leaders he accuses of having been involved in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.
“Take it from me that there is no single RDF soldier in that part of the world,” Kagame said in Kigali.
Virunga park’s management has also come out and said, it had “precise indications” that the FDLR was behind the attack that saw 17 people including rangers killed in an ambush near the headquarters of the park in North Kivu province bordering Rwanda and Uganda.
– Virunga National Park –
Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This park, is Africa’s most biologically diverse protected area and a national park embarking on an ambitious development program known as “Virunga Alliance”
Known for its mountain gorillas, this park previously banned visitors between May 2018 and the start of last year after two British tourists were kidnapped. They were later released unharmed.
Following the the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, visits to the park were suspended on March 23. And now, with the latest killings, and the challenge from the novel coronavirus, there is no defined time line on when the park is to be re-opened for tourism.