Congo rebel troops to stop further ape killings

Published: Wednesday 28 February 2007

Congo rebel troops blamed for the recent slaughter of critically endangered mountain gorillas in Central Africa have agreed to stop further ape killings. The agreement was reached under the mediation by the un, conservationists and the Congolese army.

Dismembered remains of two gorillas were discovered in the Virunga region of Democratic Republic of Congo (drc) during the first fortnight of January 2007. The Congolese government held rebel militia the Rally for Congolese Democracy-Goma responsible for the gruesome act. Investigations indicated that the two adult male gorillas were deliberately killed for food. The incident raised fears of further deaths of the ape in the region and provoked an international outrage. Of around 700 mountain gorillas remaining across the world, more than half live in the Virunga volcanic mountain region.

The agreement was made between Virunga National Park wardens and rebel force leaders, and took place near a rebel camp at Bikenge, where remains of the second gorilla killed were found floating in a pit latrine, note local media reports. Following the agreement rangers who had fled their posts after they became the target of rebel forces, are expected to join their posts soon.

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