12/01/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Congo Violence Sends Wildlife Rangers Fleeing Into Dense Forest

Fears are growing for the welfare of 39 wildlife rangers who were reportedly forced to flee into dense forest after their headquarters in eastern DR Congo were stormed by rebels on Sunday.

The rangers, who protect some of the world's last mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park in North Kivu province, are reported to have no food, water or shelter.

"Virunga is in an unprecedented crisis," said Dr Emmanuel de Merode, provincial director of the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN).

"The fighting continues to spread in all directions, the rangers have lost control of the southern sector of the park... We urgently need support to protect the rangers and their families."

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