Three chimpanzees were kidnapped from a primate rehabilitation centre in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) just outside of Lubumbashi, with the kidnappers threatening to kill them unless a ransom is paid for their return.
HUSSEIN, 1 of the 3 chimps which were kidnapped from a sanctuary in Lubumbashi 10 days ago. He was rescued by @ConservC from a remote lodge in Kinshasa, where she was in a wooden box from a young age. Collective efforts saved her, now she’s been kidnapped! Pray for her! pic.twitter.com/B7L5kmS0Kn
— Adams Cassinga (@Amini16) September 17, 2022
‘It is a nightmare … it was such a disaster,’ Franck Chantereau told Mongabay by phone from the DRC. Franck is the founder of J.A.C.K Primate Rehabilitation Centre in the DRC. ‘We have faced a lot of challenges for 18 years now. But we have never experienced anything like this: the kidnapping of apes.’
The chimps’ kidnapping comes a week after an alleged arson attack at APPACOL-PRN, an NGO that confiscates protected animal parts and wildlife traffickers – destroying all of the organisations’ records, materials and equipment, Mongabay reported.
‘We are certain that this fire was set deliberately by people linked to animal trafficking,’ APPACOL-PRN director Heritier Mpo said, ‘because in the two months prior, we received many threats after helping with the confiscation of pangolin scales, bonobos, okapi skins, parrots, and the arrest of traffickers with weapons they use to kill animals.’
‘These criminals have taken the entire wildlife crime to a new level,’ Adam Cassinga said, the director of ConservCongo, an NGO that investigates and prosecutes wildlife crimes.
Proof of life video sent by the chimpnappers to @JackChimps managers. Their families are also being threatened. This is getting out of hand ! https://t.co/y98t5zF7pt
— Adams Cassinga (@Amini16) September 20, 2022
Earlier this year, a pangolin was also held ransom by rebels in the DRC, which has given rise to many humanitarian questions – where wildlife appears to be worth more than human lives in the Global South.
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