The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) national parks authority, ICCN, has filed a suit against oil company, SOCO International, for allegedly forcing entry into Virunga National Park. The legal row comes amid revelations that two oil companies, SOCO and Dominion Petroleum, are exploring the park for oil.
According to park director Emmanuel de Merode rangers refused entry to SOCO vehicles “on the basis of SOCO’s published intentions of undertaking oil exploration work within the national park, which is illegal under Congolese Law 069-041”, at which point the SOCO vehicles forced themselves inside the park.
However, Roger Cagle, deputy CEO and CFO for SOCO International, told Bloomberg that the allegations were ‘blatantly false’.
According to Cagle, the oil company was with a member of parliament and had permission to enter the park.
Home to a quarter of the world’s mountain gorillas, as well as chimpanzees, hippos, lions, forest elephants, okapi, and rare birds Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of Africa’s most biodiverse parks and is classified by the UN as a World Heritage Site.
A number of environmental groups and the UN have warned that oil exploration in the park could harm wildlife and the ecosystem.
SOCO International has argued that its presence could boost security in a park beset be rebel forces. Over 130 rangers have died in the book due to conflict with rebels in the past 15 years.
(01/20/2011) WWF, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the UN have all recently expressed concerns about two oil companies’ plan to explore for oil in Africa’s oldest and famed Virunga National Park. Home to a quarter of the world’s mountain gorillas, as well as chimpanzees, hippos, lions, forest elephants, and rare birds Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of Africa’s most biodiverse parks and is classified by the UN as a World Heritage Site. But according to WWF plans by oil companies SOCO International and Dominion Petroleum could jeopardize not only the wildlife and ecosystems, but also local people.
(02/01/2011) Less than a week after 3 wildlife rangers and 5 soldiers were killed in Virunga National Park by the rebel group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), another ranger has been killed and a driver put in the hospital in critical condition. The situation has pushed park authorities to request UN peacekeepers for the park.
(01/25/2011) Yesterday morning, 3 wildlife rangers and 5 soldiers working in Virunga National Park were killed by the rebel group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). These 8 were killed and 3 more wounded when their vehicle was fired on by FDLR rebels with rocket launchers. Park director Emmanuel de Merode told the AFP that it was the most serious incident to occur in Virunga National Park in the past 12 months.