Two British citizens 'kidnapped' at national park in Democratic Republic of Congo

The UK's Foreign Office says it is "in close contact with the authorities" in DRC

Two British citizens 'kidnapped' at national park in Democratic Republic of Congo

Picture by: Juergen Baetz/DPA/PA Images

Two British citizens have been kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to reports.

The pair are believed to have been visiting the Virunga National Park, a gorilla sanctuary in the east of the African country, when they were abducted on Friday.

A female park ranger travelling with them was killed, according to local media reports.

A spokesperson for the UK's Foreign Office said: "We are in close contact with the authorities in Democratic Republic of the Congo following an incident involving two British nationals, and our staff are providing support to their families."

The park has experienced an increase in violence in recent months.

Armed groups have staged a series of raids to steal resources, particularly charcoal.

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

It was the deadliest attack in recent years and took the total number of rangers killed to 175.

Virunga is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It covers 3,000 square miles on the country's border with Uganda and Rwanda.

Founded in 1925, it is home to around a quarter of the world's critically endangered mountain gorillas.

Other endangered species such as lions, elephants, hippos and a number of rare bird species are also located in the park.

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