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WWF Virunga campaigners 'receive death threats'

THE World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warned yesterday night that it had received “death threats” against staff fighting oil exploration in a Democratic Republic of Congo nature park.

“Unidentified callers have threatened two employees working in Goma,” a spokesman said.

WWF team members have been trying to block oil exploration by British company Soco International in Virunga National Park. The park is home to endangered mountain gorillas.

The organisation said there had been an increase in intimidating calls, text messages and notes since park director Emmanuel de Merode was shot in April.

“The callers said they had missed killing De Merode but would not miss WWF employees,” the spokesman said. 

“WWF insists that DRC authorities bring the perpetrators of these threats to justice.”

There has been mounting worldwide opposition to oil exploration in Virunga.

Unesco says exploration would breach international conventions but fears laws could be changed by the government to allow oil concessions to be exploited.

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