Gorilla Warfare: Fighting Dirty in DR Congo
Update: the Congolese rebels holed up in Virunga National Park have stepped up their threat, moving from gorilla to human. Also, the rebels have created their own cottage industry of taking tourists into the jungle to view the gorilla/hostages, though I'm unsure why visitors would willingly trek into the jungle with armed militants.
Rebels who have seized control of eastern DR Congo's Gorilla Sector have said they will execute any wildlife ranger who attempts to enter the area.
Despite the recent signing of a peace deal, a group of rebels have set up a parallel administration in Virunga National Park.
UN peacekeepers say landmines have also been planted along one of the main routes through the region.
A tragic UPDATE to earlier coverage can be found below; BBC has a few photos of dead gorillas that I am not re-posting here. The use of noncombatants as shields is pointed out in sharp relief when those noncombatants are also nonhuman.
A female gorilla and its infant that were part of a 12-strong group attacked by gunmen last month are dead, say conservationists in the DR
Rangers patrolling the area of the Virunga National Park where four
of the great apes were killed discovered the remains of the female, called Macibiri.
Conservation group WildlifeDirect said it would continue searching the area to locate the body of the infant, Ntaribi.
The latest casualties brings this year's gorilla death toll to nine.
Earlier this year, two silverback male gorillas were shot dead in the same area of the park in the north-east of the Democratic Republic
of Congo, while a female was killed in May.
Anti-government rebels have attacked Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing a ranger and wounding at least three more. The rebels essentially holding the park's mountain gorillas hostage, threatening to kill them if government forces come too close.
Some 200 Mai Mai militia fighters attacked three observation posts in the Virunga National Park.
They are threatening to kill a rare group of mountain gorillas if the authorities come after them.
WildlifeDirect director Emmanuel de Merode said the Mai Mai attack may be a reprisal for a government clampdown.
"Our understanding is that this was a deliberate attack on the Congolese wildlife authorities," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa.
Gorilla in Kahuzi-Biega National Park in DR Congo. Born Free Foundation
Almost 100 rangers in Virunga have died protecting the gorillas
Hutu rebels and Mai Mai fighters have sought sanctuary in recent years in the park, during a long conflict that has led to some four million deaths.
But there has been a recent attempt to drive out and demobilise the remaining militias in the east.
Mr Merode said there were two important guerrilla [sic] populations who have been under attack since the beginning of the war.