DRC planning to allow oil exploration in national parks: NGO

2018-05-04 18:00


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Democratic Republic of Congo's government is seeking to reclassify swathes of two Unesco-listed parks so that oil exploration can be carried out there, an investigative group said.

The London-based NGO Global Witness said it had seen documents about a scheme to "redraw the boundaries" of the fabled Salonga and Virunga national parks, home to many of the planet's endangered species.

The move would remove protected status from areas for which oil licences have been awarded, thus enabling exploration there to go ahead, it said on Thursday.

A special commission of ministers and DRC civil servants met on April 27 to push through the plan, it said.

The group said documents signed by DRC's oil minister, Aime Ngoi Muken, set out the legal framework for changing the areas' status.

"The proposals ride roughshod over DRC's Unesco commitments and are incompatible with the parks' World Heritage Status," Global Witness said.

More than a fifth of the Virunga National Park, the oldest wildlife reserve in Africa, would be affected by the reclassification, it said.

The minister, asked to comment on the report by AFP, said he had "no knowledge about this scheme" but if it existed, "we are not afraid to embrace it".

In February, said Global Witness, DRC President Joseph Kabila authorised oil blocks that partially overlap Salonga - home to up to 40% of the world's bonobo population.

Virunga's denizens include hippopotamus, elephants and some of the world's last remaining mountain gorillas.

In 2015, a British-listed oil company, Soco International, gained a licence to operate in a block in Virunga. It later announced it had ceased to hold the block after an outcry, Global Witness said.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    drc  |  central africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Audit Senior / Bookkeeper to Trial Balance

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Placement Point (Pty) Ltd
R15 000.00 - R21 000.00 Per Month

Sales Representative- Knysna

George - Knysna
George Employment Consultants
R15 000.00 Per Month Per Month

Key Accounts - IT

Southern Shore Recruitment
R15 000.00 - R25 000.00 Per Month

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.