Congo: Virunga park says attack that killed 6 deadliest ever

FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008 file photo, a park ranger loyal to the CNDP escorts visitors through the Virunga National Park, near the Uganda border in eastern Congo. Authorities in Congo say five park rangers and a driver have been killed in an attack at the Virunga National Park. The park, which is home to critically endangered mountain gorillas, confirmed the ambush Monday, April 9, 2018 in a statement. While there was no immediately claim of responsibility, suspicion immediately fell on militia groups that are active in and around the famed park.(AP Photo/Jerome Delay, file)

Officials at Congo's Virunga National Park say the Monday slayings of six staff members is the deadliest known ambush of its kind in the park's history

KINSHASA, Congo — Officials at Congo's Virunga National Park say the Monday slayings of six staff members is the deadliest known ambush of its kind in the park's history.

In a statement Tuesday, Virunga officials blamed Mai Mai militia members for the attack that killed five rangers and a park driver. Another ranger was injured.

Virunga is home to about one-fourth of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world, and the work of protecting them has proven dangerous. Monday's deaths bring the number of rangers killed on the job since the vast park in far east Congo was established in 1925 to 175, officials said.

Poachers target the gorillas, but their habitat is also being destroyed by deforestation to produce charcoal. Human rights groups say armed groups are active in the charcoal industry.

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