Remembering Jules Kombi Kambale

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The Christmas card that Jules gave to family and friends last year.

In early September, we briefly announced the tragic news of Ranger Kambale’s passing. Jules was on point during a patrol when he encountered militia members. He was shot and killed as he tried to warn the others following behind him. Jules was the 153rd ranger to die protecting Virunga National Park in the last 15 years. Ask anyone who worked with him and they will tell you he was an extraordinary individual. Those close to Jules describe him as brave, wise, kind, upbeat, dedicated to family, and one who always promoted peace and forgiveness.

Jules was born on November 15, 1986 in the village of Nyamilima, 150 km northwest of Goma. He was the third of seven children. Jules went to primary school and later the Institute of Nyamulima. He spent five years studying humanities at the Institut of Nyamulima. In 2005, the family moved to Kiwanja, which is a town 45 minutes north of Virunga National Park headquarters in Rumangabo. In Kiwanja, Jules enrolled in the Institue of Kasasa/Nyongera, where he received his degree in humanities. Because no teaching jobs were available, Jules went on to earn an A3 diploma as a registered driver or chauffeur. He worked as a driver and for a local merchant until early 2013, when he learned that Virunga National Park was hiring new rangers. Jules joined the hundreds of other applicants vying for a limited number of job openings. Jules excelled in the ranger training program and was awarded a job with the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature to protect Virunga.

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The happiest of times: Jules and Gisèle on their wedding day,  7 December 2015.

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Jule’s parents: Joseph Kamate Kombi and Sivihwa Kavira.

Jules is survived by his wife Gisèle Kanduvula Kavugho (who is 6 months pregnant with their first child), and his parents and siblings. Gisèle and her child will receive assistance from Virunga’s Fallen Rangers fund. If you would like to help support the families of those who have died protecting Virunga National Park, please make a donation here.

To receive stories and news from the ground in Virunga, sign up for the park’s blog here.

6 Comments

  1. Samantha Fleming October 27, 2016 Reply

    It makes me sad to hear that another brave and fearless man has been killed while doing the nobelist of jobs, protecting these precious animals. My thoughts and prayers are given warmly to his family.
    God bless

  2. Betty October 28, 2016 Reply

    I am very sad about what happened. I saw the movie when the European Parliament held his Session with African Countries 2 years ago. I am saddened and angry but please do not give up. Take care of your precious country and its wildlife!

  3. Tara Ramey November 1, 2016 Reply

    I am so sorry for for your loss. It saddens me to know that such special dedicated people have to face these dangers. All for protecting a species that is so amazing and gentle. My prayers go out to you all.

  4. Wendy Accola November 3, 2016 Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss. He was a great man with a huge heart.

  5. Martin November 10, 2016 Reply

    A noble man performing a noble and most dangerous duty. Knowing people like Jules exist and are prepared to give their all to protect precious places like Virunga is a beacon of hope to humanity everywhere. Their families should be proud – our love and donations are for you.

    RIP Jules.

    Take care rangers.

  6. Nick December 20, 2016 Reply

    Thank you Jules Kambale for giving EVERYTHING for the greater good. You were truly the greatest of men and an inspiration to so many! Your death was not in vain.

    Thank you Gisèle, I hope that the sincere appreciation of people from around the world gives you some solace in this terrible loss. My thoughts are with you are your family. I can only imagine how proud your child will be to hear of what a great man their father was. His sacrifice has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated and his legacy will live forever. Never forget that!

    My deepest thanks,

    Nick

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