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In the aftermath of the attack which cost the life of the Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Rwandan Hutu rebels, accused by Kinshasa, on Tuesday denied their involvement and pointed the finger at the Congolese and Rwandan armies.
Accused, they deny their participation. In the aftermath of the attack which claimed the life of the Italian ambassador in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), the Rwandan Hutu rebels on Tuesday (February 23) denied their involvement in Monday’s incident and blamed the armies. Congolese and Rwandan. The president of the DR Congo, Félix Tshisekedi, had accused these armed groups present in the unstable region of North Kivu.
Luca Attanasio, 43, died after being shot and wounded when the World Food Program (WFP) convoy he was traveling in was ambushed in North Kivu province, near the border with Rwanda. His Italian bodyguard and a Congolese driver from the World Food Program (WFP) were also killed.
This province is considered one of the most dangerous areas in the DRC, on the edge of Virunga National Park. But according to aid officials, the road the convoy was traveling on did not require an escort.
The Congolese authorities accused, Monday, February 22, the Rwandan Hutu rebels of the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) of being responsible for the attack. This was described as “terrorist” by Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi.
But in a statement sent to AFP on Tuesday 23 February, the FDLR denied their involvement: they “ask the Congolese authorities and MONUSCO (UN Mission in DR Congo, Editor’s note) to shed light on the responsibilities of this vile assassination instead of resorting to hasty accusations “.
>> See also: DR Congo: in North Kivu, the authorities powerless in the face of violence
Rwandan rebels claim that “the ambassador’s convoy was attacked in a so-called ‘three-antenna’ area, near Goma on the border with Rwanda, not far from a position of the FARDC (Armed Forces of the DR Congo) and (…) Rwandan Defense Forces (Rwandan army) “.
“The responsibilities of this despicable assassination are (sic) to be found in the ranks of these two armies”, accuse the rebels.
Borders not watertight
The FDLR, created in the early 2000s to fight the Kigali regime, is one of the many formidable armed groups that threaten civilians in the east of the country on a daily basis. Some of the founders of the FDLR took part in the genocide of the Tutsis in April-July 1994 in Rwanda, before taking refuge in eastern DR Congo, permanently destabilizing the region.
The attack on the convoy in which the Italian ambassador was traveling took place on the national road 2 which runs very closely along the Rwandan border, in an area of dense and mountainous forest, where the borders are not watertight.
The Congolese and Rwandan authorities systematically deny any presence of Rwandan troops on the territory of the DR Congo.
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