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Plans for DRC park oil tests condemned

Kinshasa, Congo - Wildlife activists have condemned plans by a British oil company to begin seismic testing in Africa's oldest national park in Congo, citing threats to the environment and local fishing jobs.

SOCO was awarded a block in Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, for oil and gas exploration in 2006. The conservation group WWF said Thursday that seismic testing due to begin Saturday would close off portions of Lake Edward, “putting the livelihoods of thousands of people at risk.”

Virunga National Park, home to the endangered mountain gorilla. Credit: REUTERS

The conservation group has also said future drilling would lead to air pollution, water contamination and habitat loss for wildlife, among other problems.

SOCO said in a statement last week that no drilling has been planned yet, and touted social investment including medical aid and road improvement projects.

Sapa-AP

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