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Second Urgent SOS from Virunga Park: ICCN Conservationists Torture School Principal

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“Things must change; it is not a faith fact; but a truth and reality because in many countries you cannot witness again what we are still witnessing here, Lughembe wrote.

On Monday, 27 August 2007, Congolese national Mr. Vital Katembo
Mushegezi, a state Conservator and Senior Game Warden, sent out an urgent SOS appeal from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mr. Katembo has come under attack from powerful forces seeking to maintain the long-standing silence about corruption, extortion, and criminality involving international non-government organizations (NGOs) working in the conservation, development and humanitarian sector in Central Africa. While previously concerned for his livelihood and security, Mr. Katembo has now been barred from his offices at the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) and he is deeply concerned for his life and his family's security.

ICCN is the same organization responsible for the employment of the individuals’ names in this human rights violation report.

Vital Katembo Mushegezi has worked for years for the Congolese
Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN), a state-run entity in
control of Congo's national parks. In the past year Mr. Katembo has
been increasingly concerned about "conservation" in Central Africa,
and he has shown unflinching courage by publicly challenging
organizations and individuals who are profiting from the billion
dollar conservation, development and humanitarian sectors at the
expense of human suffering and exploitation of the environment. Mr. Katembo has been increasingly vocal, notwithstanding the threat and actualization of retaliation over past months.

Katembo is still in hiding for his life and United States authorities have not lifted one finger to aid him. USAID and Congress continue to dump tax dollars into a cesspool of corruption.

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota, New Orleans and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill (more...)

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