The lives of six guards and their driver were taken Monday during an attack on the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation in the Virunga Park, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – drawing condemnation from the UN agency.
“I condemn this deadly attack on six guards of the Virunga National Park and their driver,” said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on Wednesday.
“I call on the Democratic Republic of the Congo to take all the necessary legal measures to put an end to these repetitive attacks,” added.
The Director-General paid tribute to the courage of the guards who risk their lives to ensure the protection of this heritage.
Since 1996, attacks in the Virunga National Park have claimed over 175 victims, UNESCO said.
This marks the third attack this year against the staff of the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation in the Virunga Park and follows similar acts on other World Heritage sites in the country, namely in Dja and Sangha Tri-National.
The Director-General called on the international community to help the Institute ensure the safety of local people and staff.
With the support of the European Union, UNESCO has, for several years, been investing in strengthening human capacity and resources of World Heritage Sites in the countries of central Africa that are facing security challenges.