Two British hostages, driver, released in Congo

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Britain's overseas secretary says that two British vacationers being held hostage in Congo have been launched two days after being kidnapped.

The tourists, a man and a woman, are believed to have been ambushed by an unidentified group of armed men on Friday morning in Goma, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province, while they were exploring Virunga National Park with another person.

It was the deadliest attack in recent years and took the total number of rangers killed in the park to 175.

Johnson paid tribute to DR Congo authorities and the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation for their "tireless help".

Ms Davies and Mr Jesty said in a statement released by the Foreign 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".

A spokesperson for the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) said: "For the moment the [ICCN] can not communicate much about the incident because the hostages are still in captivity".

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One of the most important conservation sites in the world, it covers 7,800 square kilometres along a swathe of eastern DR Congo abutting the border with Uganda and Rwanda.

It is home to to around a quarter of the world's critically endangered mountain gorillas and other endangered species as well as lions, elephants, hippos and a host of rare bird species.

Park director Emmanuel de Merode said: "Ranger Baraka's life was tragically cut short in service to Virunga National Park".

BBC Africa editor Will Ross said poachers were active in the park, which was also under threat due to the illegal felling of trees to make charcoal and plans for oil exploration.

Last month, five young rangers and a driver in the park were killed in an ambush.

The Foreign Office now - and before the kidnapping - advises against travelling to the area.

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