The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, expressed sadness and anger after the latest violent attack of 23rd April at Garamba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The attack left three dead and two wounded among the guards of the Park.
"I condemn this attack and killing of the guards at Garamba National Park. Once again I commend the courage of the guards who risk their lives to protect this heritage, which is the shared heritage of all Congolese, and all humanity. I call on all countries to support the efforts of the Democratic Republic of Congo to ensure the protection of sites. They represent a potential for development, peace, and resources for a whole people, and should not be left to the mercy of poachers," Ms Bokova stated.
The Director-General welcomed Resolution 2277 of the Security Council of 30 March 2016, renewing the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), and expressing its concern "at the illegal exploitation and trafficking of natural resources by armed groups (...) which undermines lasting peace and development for the Democratic Republic of Congo."
Since April 2015, eight ICCN guards and three soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo were killed in the line of duty at Garamba National Park. In March 2016, a guard of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park was killed. Two other people died in November and in March 2016 at the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. Virunga National Park was attacked by rebels in March 2016, causing the death of two ICCN guards.
Garamba National Park was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1980.