UNESCO condemns deadly attacks in Benin's W National Park (W-Arly-Pendjari Complex)
UNESCO expresses its full support to the families of the victims of two deadly attacks carried out on Tuesday 8 and Thursday 10 February 2022 against security guards on patrol in the W National Park in Benin, one of the components of the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex (Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger) inscribed on the World Heritage List.
"These deadly attacks that occurred at a World Heritage site, a few weeks after the visit of a technical assessment mission, fill us with deep sadness and pain," said Lazare Eloundou Assomo, Director of UNESCO World Heritage. "We condemn these heinous crimes and extend our sympathy and support to the families of the victims and their colleagues," he added.
Armed attacks against staff on duty have increased in recent years in the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex. Despite this, the guards continue to carry out their mission, protecting local communities and securing all the areas dedicated to the conservation of exceptional biodiversity.
UNESCO is extremely concerned about the risks that this security crisis poses to park staff and populations, and the impact it may have on the preservation of this World Heritage site. UNESCO will continue to support the efforts of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger to mobilize funds to strengthen the protection of people and the conservation of the property.
The W-Arly-Pendjari Complex (Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger) was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2017. This property represents the most important continuum of terrestrial, semi-aquatic and aquatic ecosystems in the West African savannah belt, and is home to one of the largest populations of elephants in West Africa, as well as other animal species that have become extinct or are extremely threatened in much of the region.