British vacationers kidnapped in Congo freed

Ebola Congo British tourists kidnap

"With Virunga National Park being within our zone of action, we have joined the park rangers for search operations for the people taken hostages", Major Guillaume Kaiko Ndjike, the army's spokesman in North Kivu, said on Saturday.

Until Friday's incident, no significant attack had been launched on tourists in the park for almost 20 years, despite scores of attacks on rangers and Congolese nationals living in or driving through the park, which hugs the Rwandan and Ugandan borders.

A female wildlife ranger accompanying the pair was killed.

"I pay tribute to the help of the DRC authorities and Congolese Insitute of Nature Conservation", he added.

Robert Jesty and Bethan Davies were abducted along with their driver on Friday while visiting Africa's oldest national park.

Mr Johnson said: "I am delighted that two British nationals who were held hostage in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been released".

Congolese authorities are working with the Foreign Office to repatriate the British tourists, according to a park statement.

She was transferred to a nearby hospital to receive emergency medical treatment, but died shortly afterwards of her injuries, the park said.

The BBC's Louise Dewast, reporting from the country's capital Kinshasa, said there were armed groups operating in the park and there had been kidnappings before, with half involving a ransom demand.

The national park, which runs along the border with Uganda and Rwanda, covers 3,000 sq miles (7,800 sq km).

Baraka was critically injured when the vehicle the four were travelling in was attacked by armed assailants, the park said on its website.

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