Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Democratic Republic of Congo: Italian ambassador killed in armed attack


Ambassador Luca Attanasio died of his injuriesa senior diplomatic source in Kinshasa told AFP. Two other people were also killed during the attack, told AFP Major Guillaume Djike, spokesman for the army in the North Kivu region.

On Monday morning, Italian President Sergio Mattarella denounced cowardly attack which cost the life of the ambassador, the Italian military man Vittorio Iacovacci and their driver.

The Italian Republic is in mourning for these servants of the State who lost their lives in the performance of their dutiesadded Mr. Mattarella, deploring act of violence perpetrated while they were traveling by car in a convoy of MONUSCO, the mission of the peacekeepers in the DRC.

The Congolese Armed Forces comb to find out who the attackers are, said the Congolese army.

The attack on this UN convoy took place in the north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, which has been plagued by violence from armed groups for more than 25 years.

Luca Attanasio, Italian Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Photo: Reuters / Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

25 years of conflict

The eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a region rich in minerals, has been the scene of an untraceable peace and daily violence that has affected civilians for 25 years.

In a report published on Monday, experts from the Kivu Security Barometer (KST) listed 122 armed groups active in 2020 in the four eastern provinces of the DRC: North and South Kivu, Ituri and Tanganyika.

In the two provinces of Kivu alone, the KST recorded 2,127 civilians killed between January 2019 to October 2020.

Italian Ambassador Luca Attanasio was ambushed north of Goma, near the strongholds of the Rwandan Hutu rebellion of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and Nyatura militias of Congolese Hutus. Members of the M23 (a rebellion of Congolese Tutsis which captured Goma in 2012-13) are also present in the area.

This area with high tourist potential is home to Virunga Park, where rangers are regularly victims of ambushes (200 since the park was created in 1925, according to its management).

The FDLR, formed in the early 2000s and some of whose founders participated in the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994, were accused of the deaths of a dozen rangers in the Virunga park on April 24, 2020.

It is in the grand North Kivu, in Beni territory, that the violence is the strongest. In this Ugandan border territory, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) are by far the deadliest armed group in all of the east.

Between July and December 2020, attacks attributed to the ADF caused 468 […] killed including 108 women and 15 children, according to a recent report by the United Nations Joint Office for Human Rights.



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