Rangers return to protect Congo mountain gorillas

GOMA, Congo (AP) -- The director of Congo's Virunga Park says rangers who fled fighting between rebels and soldiers are returning to protect its endangered mountain gorillas.

The park headquarters in eastern Congo had been seized by rebels on Oct. 26.

Director Emmanuel de Merode says all parties in the conflict have accepted the return of the rangers from the refugee camps they fled to. They began doing that on Friday.

De Merode says, "It is a huge step that all sides have agreed that the protection of Virunga as a World Heritage Site and its mountain gorillas is of sufficient priority to transcend political differences."

He says the rangers are neutral in the conflict and should be allowed to do their job.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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