Rwandan rebels accused of killing Italian Ambassador in DR Congo

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Slain Ambassador Luca Attanasio; Courtesy Photo

The Kinshasaha government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has said the Democratic Forces for Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a rebel outfit operating in DRC are behind attack in which Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio was killed.

Attanasio was on Monday killed in Goma and his death was confirmed by both the Congolese and the Italian Foreign Ministry. Luca Attanasio died alongside an Italian soldier after their car was attacked as they traveled in a UN convoy in the eastern part of the country.

In a statement released on February 22, the Democratic Republic of Congo accused the Hutu ethnic rebel group operating in the Congo for the brutal attack along the route to Rutshuru, Kibumba in Nyirangongo territory.

The DRC government regretted the incident and sent condolences to families of the victims and specifically to the deceased Ambassador’s family. The authorities also expressed commitment to finding a lasting solution to the insecurity in the region.

However, in a separate press statement issued on the same day, FDLR dissociated itself from assassination of the slain ambassador. FDLR said say they were not involved in the attack but also said the assassination spot on the border with Rwanda is not far from a positions of government forces -FARDC and the Rwandan army RDF.

The FDLR said the responsibility of the assassination lies in the ranks of the Rwandan army, FARDC rebels and their sponsors. They condemned the murder of the Italian Ambassador and sent condolences to the Italian government.

Italy’s Prime Minister, Mario Draghi also put out a statement expressing his condolences to the families of the Italian ambassador and the soldier, named as Vittorio Iacovacci.

The WFP said a delegation was on a field trip to visit one of their school feeding programs in Rutshuru when they came under attack.
It added that the route was on a road previously designated safe for travel without a security team.

Rutshuru is just over two hours’ drive from Goma. The road out of the regional capital has been insecure for years with a variety of armed groups operating in the area.

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