Two rangers were killed in DR Congo’s famous Okapi Wildlife Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, by a ragtag militia group, a top conservation official said Friday.
Thursday’s attack in the restive Ituri province was staged by the Mai-Mai, a group of vigilantes protecting local communities, said Cosma Wilunga, the head of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature.
“Two rangers were killed in the surprise attack by the Mai-Mai at the reserve but the motive is unclear as of now,” he told AFP.
“The army was nearby and came to the rescue of the rangers. Together they chased the attackers away,” he said.
The okapi, a mammal from the giraffe family with zebra-like stripes, is only found in this region of DR Congo.
The wildlife reserve is spread over nearly 14,000 square kilometres (5,400 square miles) and houses several endangered species.