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  1. ITV Report

Kidnapped Brits speak of relief after ordeal ends in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Two Britons freed in the Democratic Republic of Congo after being kidnapped during a visit to a national park have said they are “very relieved” that their ordeal is over.

The pair – named as Bethan Davies and Robert Jesty – were rescued on Sunday after being snatched in Virunga National Park on Friday.

In a statement issued on their behalf, they said: “We are very relieved that there has been a positive outcome to the kidnapping and are very grateful for the excellent support we have received. We do not plan to comment further.”

A female park ranger, 25-year-old Rachel Makisa Baraka, who was travelling with the pair was killed and their driver injured during the abduction.

Freed! Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

We are very relieved that there has been a positive outcome to the kidnapping and are very grateful for the excellent support we have received.

We extend our sincere sympathies to the family of the Ranger so tragically killed in the incident.

– Helen Jesty Mother of kidnapped Robert

I am delighted to announce that two British nationals who were held hostage in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been released.

I pay tribute to the DRC authorities and the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation for their tireless help during this terrible case.

My thoughts are now with the family of Virunga Park ranger Rachel Makisa Baraka who was killed during the kidnapping, and with the injured driver and the released British nationals as they recover from this traumatic incident.

– Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
The two were travelling to Virunga home to around a quarter of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas. Credit: IUCN Red List

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

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that it provided consular support to both Britons and their families throughout their ordeal

The UK would like to thank the DRC authorities and MONUSCO (The United Nations peace keeping mission) for their assistance in resolving this kidnapping.

I would like in particular to praise the courage and commitment shown by the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation and the Virunga Park authorities over the past three days.

My deepest condolences are with the family, friends and colleagues of Rachel Makisa Baraka, the Virunga ranger killed during the kidnapping. I wish the driver injured during the incident a speedy recovery.

The bravery and determination of all the staff of Virunga is vital for the conservation of animals in the park, and the protection of local communities.

– British ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, John Murton,