Friday, December 21, 2012

Senior ranger murdered by Mai Mai militia in DR Congo

December 2012. Atamato Madrandele, the chief ranger of Congo's Upemba National Park, has been murdered by Mai Mai militia as he was returning on a motorbike back to his park headquarters at Upemba National Park. Emmanuel de Merode, chief warden of Virunga National Park, who was a close friend and colleague of Atamato, said: "Atama was the first ranger I met when I came to Congo as a young researcher in 1993. We worked together in Garamba National Park for several years, and it was in his company that my love for Congo's wildlife grew alongside my affection for its people. He began as a junior ranger, not for lack of education or competence (he was a qualified teacher before joining the park service), but slowly steadily climbed through the ranks. In 2001, when I moved to Virunga he came with me and together we began our work of rebuilding the park. He was the commanding officer at Ishango, built the airstrip and trained up a unit of rangers. It was our first attempt at bringing Virunga back to life, and it gave me some of the most challenging and rewarding moments of my life. I appointed Atama as Sector Warden in Mutsora in 2008 as the first nomination I made. He was a critical support for me and for his men during those difficult days leading up to the CNDP war. Two of his rangers were killed by Mai Mai militias in separate incidences in the weeks that followed his nomination, and he confronted his responsibilities with the leadership that his men needed and a deep compassion towards the broken families of his fallen rangers." Please contribute towards supporting his family Atamato is one of around 150 rangers who have been killed in Congo in the course of their work in the last 15 years. Atamato leaves behind a widow, a young daughter and a son. If you would like to contribute towards supporting his family, and the families of other rangers who have been killed, please go to the Virunga National Park site. Source: Wildlife Extra

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