Congo army, park rangers search for kidnapped Britons

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"We are in close contact with the authorities of the DR Congo after an incident involving two British nationals and our employees provide support to their families", - said the British foreign office.

The kidnapping of two British tourists in the Democratic Republic of Congo last week is the latest blow to a heroic battle to save Africa's oldest and most spectacular national park. The ranger was killed, and the driver and two tourists were among those abducted.

That attack brought the number of rangers killed on the job to 175 since the vast park in far eastern Congo was established in 1925, officials said.

"For the moment the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation can not communicate much about the incident because the hostages are still in captivity".

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It is a Unesco world heritage site and is home to critically-endangered mountain gorillas as well as lions, elephants and hippos.

Unidentified armed men ambushed the group on Friday morning north of Goma, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province, inside Virunga National Park.

Virunga has experienced waves of violence and crime linked to local unrest.

Park director Emmanuel de Merode told the AFP news agency: "I confirm that our vehicle was attacked".

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Last month, five young rangers and a driver in the park were killed in an ambush.

Another added: "Her only thought would have been the safety and security of visitors to the park who were on the convoy".

Allied Democratic Forces rebels have also been accused of attacks and kidnappings near the park.

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