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It is with deep regret that African Parks announces the death of three men in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo following an encounter with poachers.

They include Garamba ranger, Jean-Marie Kpionyeslinani, and two members of the Congolese armed forces who were assisting with anti-poaching patrols in the park at the time of the tragic incident: Corporal Kambale Musubao and Lieutenant Moise Mospado. A second ranger was injured in the attack, although not seriously.

Tragic death of three men in Garamba
Garamba ranger Jean-Marie Kpionyesilani. © African Parks

The three men died around at around 11am on 17th June when they were ambushed by a group of heavily-armed poachers, believed to be South Sudanese. The three men were members of a reinforcement team that was deployed using the African Parks helicopter to an area inside Garamba, approximately 15 kilometres from the park headquarters at Nagero, to support a ground team that had an initial exchange of fire with the poachers. The three men sustained multiple bullet wounds and died instantly.

The bodies of the two military men were transported to the nearby town of Dungu where their families are based, and were buried on 18th June. The body of ranger Jean-Marie Kpionyeslinai was transported to Nagero, where he was also buried on 18th June. Ranger Jean-Marie Kpionyesilani leaves his wife and five children, Corporal Musubao leaves his wife, and Lieutenant Mospado leaves his wife and seven children.

Garamba’s rangers and the Congolese army, as well as members of a regional task force, are all currently involved in comprehensive efforts to track and apprehend the poachers. “We extend our sincere condolences to the families and colleagues of the three men,” said Peter Fearnhead, African Parks CEO.

“Three wives lost their husbands and 12 children are now without fathers. Their deaths are a testimony to the dangers that rangers, and members of the armed forces assisting them, face every day in preventing poaching in Africa’s national parks and protected areas. They have paid the ultimate price in attempting to eliminate the scourge.”

For further information on the incident, please contact Cynthia Walley: cynthiaw@african-parks.org.

Read about Garamba here.

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African Parks

African Parks is a non-profit organisation that takes on total responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments, wildlife organisations and local communities. We operate thirteen national parks in nine countries: Rwanda, Zambia, Mozambique, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Malawi and Benin. Please see www.african-parks.org or visit our Facebook page for more information.