Heartbreaking News! Six Park Rangers Have Been Attacked & Killed By Armed Assailants In Virunga National Park

It is with immense sadness that Virunga National Park confirms the deaths of six Park Rangers in an attack by armed assailants this morning, Sunday, January 10, 2021.

One Ranger was seriously wounded in the assault. Fortunately, the Ranger has been taken to a hospital in Goma and his injuries are no longer considered life-threatening.

At approximately 7:30am, the Rangers were ambushed while on foot patrol inside the Park. The attack took place near Kabuendo, which is located near the border of the Park, in the Central sector, between Nyamilima and Niamitwitwi.

According to a statement by Virunga National Park, preliminary investigations indicate that the Rangers were taken by surprise and had no opportunity to defend themselves, and that those responsible for the attack are local Mai-Mai groups.

The identities of the Rangers who lost their lives are:

BURHANI ABDOU Surumwe, age 30 years

KAMATE MUNDUNAENDA Alexis, age 25 years

MANENO KATAGHALIRWA Reagan, age 27 years

KIBANJA BASHEKERE Eric, age 28 years

PALUKU BUDOYI Innocent, age 28 years


Virunga National Park deeply regrets the tragic loss of life among its Rangers, who work tirelessly and with dedication to protect both the Park and the neighboring communities from the tyranny of armed groups. Their sacrifice will not be forgotten nor be in vain.

The Rangers of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature are agents of the Congolese State. They do not have military status and their actions do not fall under the law of conflict.

All efforts will be undertaken to bring the perpetrators to justice and sustain the rule of law within the Park.

Virunga National Park remains committed to delivering development initiatives that benefit local people and the wider region, and working in partnership with local communities to bring peace and prosperity to many millions of people whose lives have for too long been blighted by conflict and the activities of armed groups.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Virunga National Park, including the families and friends of the fallen Rangers and the one surviving Ranger. 

Virunga National Park in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is 7,800-square-kilometres (3,000 sq mi), stretching from the Virunga Mountains in the South, to the Rwenzori Mountains in the North, bordering Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.

The park was established in 1925 as Africa’s first national park and has been a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site since 1979. In recent years, poaching and the Congo Civil War have seriously damaged its wildlife population. The park is managed by the Congolese National Park Authorities, the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN), and its partner Virunga Foundation.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

More on this topic

Popular stories

In Defense of Animals and Jindo Love Rescue Saved 28 Dogs From The ‘Boknal’ Dog Meat Festival In South Korea From Being Slaughtered For...

Photos from In Defense Of Animals In Defense of Animals and Jindo Love Rescue recently seized 28 dogs bound for slaughter en-route to South Korea’s dog...

Historic “Recovering America’s Wildlife Act” Passes The U.S. House & Would Secure Billions For Imperiled Species

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, H.R. 2773, by a 231 to 190 vote yesterday. If approved by the...

Breaking! Severely Entangled Seal Covered In 77 Pounds Of Trash & Nets Is A Grim Reminder Of Why We Must Help Clean Up Marine...

In what is being called one of the worst cases of marine life entanglement in the world, a deceased male grey seal washed up...