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14 May 2018

BY Edward Robertson

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TRFBLI

Kidnapped UK tourists released in DRC

The two British tourists kidnapped in a Congolese national park were released on Sunday.

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Dr Bethan Davies and Dr Robert Jesty were kidnapped on Friday in the Virunga National Parkin the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the start of a gorilla trekking holiday.


However, they were released yesterday, although it remains unclear as to whether or not their release was secured through negotiations or a rescue operation.

 

A statement released by the two doctors said: "We are very relieved that there has been a positive outcome to the kidnapping and are very grateful for the excellent support we have received. We do not plan to comment further."

 

The Telegraph reports that they were treated for minor injuries but were otherwise unharmed.


During the kidnapping, park ranger Rachel Masika Baraka was killed while a driver was injured and released.

 

“We can now confirm the release and safe return of passengers and driver who are currently receiving support and medical attention,” said Virunga National Park in a statement.

 

“Congolese authorities and senior park staff are working closely with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the repatriation of the British nationals.”


The Unesco-listed national park runs along the border with Uganda and Rwanda but the FCO advises against travelling to the area.

 

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson added: “I pay tribute to the DRC authorities and the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation for their tireless help during this terrible case.

 

“My thoughts are now with the family of Virunga Park ranger Rachel Makissa Baraka who was killed during the kidnapping, and with the injured driver and the released British nationals as they recover from this traumatic incident.”

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