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A Devastating Weekend for Virunga National Park

Twelve rangers were among 17 people killed in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said, in one of the worst massacres in the park’s recent history. The park blamed members of a Rwandan rebel group for the attack. The rangers were on their way back to the park, the oldest in Africa, when they spotted a civilian vehicle that had been attacked and came to its defense, park officials said in a statement. The park said the gunmen belonged to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, one of the largest foreign armed groups in the country, whose ranks include members accused of having links to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. On March 23, Virunga temporarily closed after scientific directives suggested primates might be vulnerable to complications arising from Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The park’s officials said the latest wave of violence would not deter their commitment to improving the economic and humanitarian needs of civilians living in the area surrounding the park.