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March Today in Terrorism

March 12, 2016: Murder of park rangers in the DRC

On this day in 2016 two rangers were killed in Virunga National Park, a 7,800-square-kilometre area in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK, DRC – Going to work should not expose you to the real possibility of death on a daily basis.

There are many parts of our planet that warrant special protection. The Amazon rain forest, often called the ‘lungs of the earth’, is a good example. The role that this massive region plays in regulating climate cannot be overestimated.

It is also true that this natural sanctuary, and many others, are under constant threat. Whether it is from illegal logging or mining, or just actors who pursue initiatives out of greed and in the pursuit of lucre, they are under significant threat. Those charged with protecting this global resource, including native populations, have been killed because they were ‘in the way’.

Oh the stupidity of humankind! (Photo: ALBERTO CESAR – GREENPEACE- HO / AP)

At times the violence is meted out by terrorist groups.

On this day in 2016

Two rangers were killed in Virunga National Park, a 7,800-square-kilometre area in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Terrorists belonging to the Mai-Mai, a broad variety of groups that often have little in common other than an emphasis on indigenous rights, carried out the attack.

The Mai-Mai often execute attacks in smaller groups, such as terrorising villagers, looting food, mass rapes as well as killing village elders. This particular attack was carried out by over 120 members.

Our rangers continue to bear the brunt of the instability in eastern Congo. They stand fearlessly on the frontline of the protection of civilians and their resources knowing that they are at risk of extreme violence.

Virunga Park Director

Brave women and men will continue to put their lives on the line to protect our collective natural heritage. We owe them a debt of gratitude.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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