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Congo ranger ambushed and killed defending wildlife
Rhett A. Butler,
December 18, 2012

Atamato Madrandele, 1969 - 2012

Atamato Madrandele, Chief Warden of Upemba National Park, was ambushed and killed December 16, 2012 by Mai-Mai militia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, reports the Upemba Conservation Project.

Madrandele was killed as he was returning to the park's headquaters, according to the conservation group. Madrandele was 43.

"Atamato driving his motorcycle from Kiubo to Lusinga when he encountered an ambush by a group of MaiMai and was shot," said Upemba Conservation Project in a post on its Facebook page., the official website of Virunga National Park, confirmed Madrandele's murder in a post on its blog.

"We’ve just received the tragic news that Atama, who was our Sector Warden for the [Northern] Sector of Virunga until last year, was murdered by Mai Mai militias as he was returning on a motorbike back to his park headquarters at Upemba National Park."

The Upemba Conservation Project said the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) and the Zoologische Gesellschaft Frankfurt are bringing Madrandele's body back to Lubumbashi. A funeral will be held on Saturday. ICCN has called for an investigation into the ranger's murder.

Madrandele leaves behind a wife, a young daughter, and a son. is asking for contributions to provide for the family.

Mai-Mai rebels were linked to the brutal slaughter of six people this past June at the headquarters of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the town of Epulu. The militia also killed 14 okapi. The raid was reportedly linked to a crackdown on illegal elephant poaching and gold mining inside the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. In October, the Mai-Mai killed attacked a ranger patrol in Virunga National Park killing two park staff and one government soldier.

More than 120 rangers have been killed in the line of duty in Congo over the past decade due to the ongoing conflict in the eastern part of the country.

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