Belgian head of Congo’s Virunga park shot

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DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Park officials say the Belgian director of Africa’s oldest national park, a reserve in conflict-ridden eastern Congo, has been shot and seriously wounded.

A statement on the website of Virunga National Park said chief warden Emmanuel de Merode was shot Tuesday while traveling between Goma and Rumangabo. The statement gave no other details. The website said he was in serious condition but the park’s Twitter site said he was in critical condition. A spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Virunga is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to endangered mountain gorillas but also a hotbed of activity by illegal armed groups, including poachers. Virtually every rebellion in eastern Congo in the past 30 years has started there.

Associated Press

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