AN AGREEMENT announced in Geneva today between London-based oil company Soco and wildlife protection group WWF is set to prevent oil drilling in Congo’s Virunga national park.
A joint statement by Soco International and WWF said there will be no exploratory drilling in Virunga unless the government and UN agency Unesco agreed it would not threaten the park’s status.
Soco agreed to suspend exploration soon and WWF pledged to drop a complaint that the company had violated guidelines of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The park is home to 200 endangered mountain gorillas and is the only place all three African great apes can be seen.
In April, chief warden Emmanuel de Merode was attacked by three gunmen. Soon after that attack, filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel released a documentary depicting the desperate struggle by Mr Merode and his rangers to protect the park from militias, rebels and the oil company.