Two Britons kidnapped after visiting gorilla sanctuary in DR Congo

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

A female park ranger was killed in the attack, local media reported.

Two British tourists are among three people to have been kidnapped in a national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Virunga is a Unesco world heritage site and one of the most important conservation areas in the world, covering 7,800 sq km (3,011 sq miles), along the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo with Uganda and Rwanda.

But it is located in DR Congo's North Kivu province, where armed groups are fighting for control of territorial and natural resources, and where poaching is a major threat.

The Press Association reported that the two tourists were British citizens.

The British Foreign Office confirmed it was in contact with the Congolese authorities following the incident and said its staff were supporting their families.

There are more species of mammals, birds and reptiles in the park than anywhere else on Earth, and almost a third of the world's 1,000-odd mountain gorillas.

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On April 2, a park ranger died in an attack by armed men.

There have been a number of killings and kidnappings in recent years.

Last year, a fifth of the park's southern sector was deforested owing to illegal charcoal production, the park said.

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

On April 9, six park staffers were killed in the deadliest known ambush of its kind in Virunga.

The Foreign Office has issued warnings not to travel to large parts of the DRC.

It said that United Kingdom government staff are not always in the area and the British embassy's ability to offer consular assistance may be "severely limited".

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