You have seen posts here of my friend Emmanuel, the Chief Warden of the Virunga National Park. I have had the opportunity to help him with his aircraft maintenance and doing some checkout for him in the parks Cessna 182. He has a huge job protecting this important area of Congo. Virunga was actually the first National Park in all of Africa and is yet still very unknown. It is an amazing place with gorillas, multiple active volcanoes, elephants, lakes and snow capped glacial mountains.
There has been much violence in the past years. Rangers are targeted regularly by militia groups that roam the park and over 120 have been killed in the last 15 years. A bit more risky than a Parks post in the States!
The story as I heard it this week on Tuesday Emmanuel was returning from Goma to the station at Rumangabo when he was ambushed by AK wielding gunmen who, shot up the parks vehicle as he drove alone, hitting him 4 times. He was somehow able to get out of the vehicle and shoot back a bit but realized he was hit and then fell down. A motorcycle driver came down the road at that point and the men ran off, leaving Emmanuel for dead. This man, no doubt had a hand in saving Emmanuel’s life. The FARDC then took E. to a ranger station and they drove him back to Goma where he was in theatre at HEAL AFRICA hospital until after mid-night.
Emmanuel was in serious but stable condition. I was able to talk to him in the afternoon and he seems to be in good spirits, although naturally weakened by his ordeal.
I ask you to pray for his healing and protection as he mends.
You can follow the parks web site by clicking on the Gorilla blog logo at the side of this page.