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SURRENDERING TO M23: ICCN EcoGuards Surrender Important Base in Virunga Park to M23

Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) EcoGuards have fled the strategic base of Rwindi, in Virunga Park of North Kivu Province which has since been occupied by the M23 Rebel Group.

Several sources confirmed have revealed that the insecurities and the bellicose environment due to the reinforced presence of the M23 rebels did not allow the ecoguards to remain in the area in order to ensure the protection of the oldest park (99 years old), heritage of the UNESCO.

“It is an active operational zone, military pressure is strong and we are taking precautions,” a source within the Virunga park who has still not officially communicated about this redeployment told ACTUALITE.CD.

“Those who remain in Rwindi are only the M23,” confirmed another source who added: “last week we saw the men and the military ration of the M23 descend towards Rwindi and recently there were clashes between the M23 and the FARDC, it is possible that as a precaution, the ICCN evacuates the eco-guards.”

The Rwindi base was conquered last March by the M23 without major challenges after the Congolese army retreated to Kanyabayonga.

All surrounding localities up to the Vitshumbi fishery on the coast of Lake Edward still in Virunga Park are controlled by the M23 rebellion.

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