Didier Reynders condemns cowardly attack on Emmanuel de Mérode in DRC

date: 16 April 2014

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders learned with dismay about the cowardly attack against Emmanuel de Mérode, Director of the Virunga National Park in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). De Mérode was shot and wounded in the afternoon of 15 April while on the road between Goma and Rumangabo in eastern DRC.

Emmanuel de Mérode was taken to the Heal Africa Hospital in Goma where he underwent an operation. Two surgeons from the MONUSCO peacekeeping troops participated in the operation. According to the first information received, his condition is stable. The Minister wishes him a quick recovery.

The Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) appointed de Mérode as the Director of the Virunga National Park in August 2008. His work, expertise and commitment are widely recognized. Virunga Park was the first natural park in Africa and is primarily known for its mountain gorillas and okapis. The park is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also one of the most threatened parks in the world.

Didier Reynders asks the Congolese government to do everything possible to investigate this attack and to identify the perpetrators as quickly as possible. Belgium will be closely monitoring the progress of the investigation.