The local population living near the Virunga National Park in eastern DR Congo are reported to have embarked on bush clearing in the game reserve to grow cotton for export to Uganda.

A source in the office of the governor for North Kivu based in Beni town of eastern Congo says the exercise was aimed at engaging the people in viable economic activities.

“This is also a security measure to keep wrong elements away from the area because the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels have been using it as a hideout while hunting animals for meat,” the source says.

Virunga National Park is a continuation of the Queen Elizabeth National Park in the Lake Edward region of the western rift valley and the Semliki river valley.

Earlier the Kasese resident district commissioner, Musa Ecweru, said that during his recent meeting with the governor of North Kivu, Sikuli Makalha, they had got an area to start growing cotton and export it to Uganda.

Ecweru said the Congolese neighbouring West Nile region were already producing cotton and selling it to Uganda.