The Daily Mail has exposed the dark side of African Parks, a charity backed by Prince Harry, where it is alleged tribespeople are being raped and tortured. Two articles have been released detailing horrifying acts of depravity by rangers who are supposed to be keeping people safe.
The first article that came out details a conversation with a husband and wife who were in the Congo rainforest with their children collecting honey when Justin Zoa, the husband, was arrested and handcuffed by rangers. The family was told they could not leave.
Justin was then tortured after he was stripped of his clothes and tortured with hot wax dripped on his back, and he was whipped with a belt. He thought he was going to die in front of his wife and seven terrified children. He had committed no offence whatsoever. According to the first DM article, Mister Zoa and his family were in the oldest rainforest where, as per a senior government official in the region, the tribespeople are prohibited from killing protected species like elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas but are allowed to hunt small animals and forage.
The Terrors Committed By The African Parks Guards
The terror gets even worse. Ian Birrell, who broke the story, said he was told harrowing stories about the brutality, rape and torture of the tribespeople. Even advocacy groups such as Survival International have been worried about the abuse for over a decade.
Justin Zoa’s mental health has suffered as a result of the abuse. He has not been back to the rainforest since the incident. His children no longer like honey. Other villagers have followed suit in not venturing into the forest, despite it being an important part of sustaining their people.
Mister Birrell was told that people were told to stay away from the militia that had shown him their African Parks logo under their military-esque uniforms.
The Tortures, Rape Of A Teenage Boy And Racism
One man, Medard Mossendjo, said that if someone goes to pick a vegetable, the rangers will claim it is for the animals, and the person who picked it will get beaten up. He also alleges that five guards attacked him and his wife while they were out hunting. Mister Mossendjo was then thrown in prison for eight months and essentially starved.
There are so many other stories that are sickening when it comes to the relentless torture and abuse the Baka people have gone through at the hands of these horrible human beings.
One teenage boy was groomed and paid for sex and went to the doctor only to learn that he had a sexually transmitted disease and that his his attacker had injured his groin. What’s more, the guard who had relations with the boy was fired three months after the assault. He then disappeared before charges could be laid. He remains on the run.
It has been suggested that the Bantu, which is the majority of the people that populate the Congo region, view the indigenous people as “inferior” which has resulted in all kinds of problems.
The Rape of Ella Ene
One of the most harrowing stories that Ian reported on was the rape of Ella Ene, a young mother with a young child.
Ella was woken in the middle of the night, thinking it was her husband. However, it was not him. It was an African Parks guard who told her to follow him. She bundled up her then one-month-old son and proceeded to follow. The man had on a uniform and he carried a gun.
The guard forced Ella to the ground on the side of the road and violently raped her. He ignored her pleas and the cries of her newborn. Afterwards, the alleged rapist took her back to the base, where he told people he had bought her there because her husband could not be found.
Ella then complained to the guard’s boss, and the guards took her home at 4 am. When her husband, Kelli Asse, found out, he frantically went to the African Parks camp. He was beaten while handcuffed for nine hours. All he wanted was to see his terrified wife.
As for Ella and her baby, they required hospital treatment. Her body had not fully recovered from the birth of her child. Even three years on from the attack, she is still in pain mentally and physically. She can no longer conceive. She believes she was targeted because she is Baka.
Did Prince Harry Know?
A big question mark remains. Given Prince Harry’s role as a patron of African Parks, was he aware of what was happening? It’s unclear and not up to us to say he was or wasn’t told. Given his association with the organisation, he needs to say something and soon.
If he doesn’t, it will be seen as him being complacent and turning his back on victims of abuse. It will also make him look stupid and the people he has helped over the years will lose faith in him.
Now, given what we know about what Prince Harry and, therefore, Meghan do when their own families are under siege, it is unlikely that Harry will do anything to help. Why? Because he thinks he is above everyone else. His priorities have changed since he got with his spouse, who doesn’t care about Africa.
It will be a wait-and-see whether Harry says something, but it’s doubtful he will.