News – UK – Italian envoy killed in Congo DR attack, accuses Rwandan Hutu rebels

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A man who tried to help the wounded driver of the Italian Ambassador to the DRCOngo Luca Attanasio wears a bloodstained jacket as he stands near the road in the Kibumba region of Virunga National Park, Jan. km from Goma, on 22 February 2021, where Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo was earlier killed when a UN convoy was attacked Luca Attanasio died of his wounds after a World Food Program (WFP) convoy came under fire near Goma during an excursion to the region Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP

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GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo – Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo was killed among three people on Monday when a UN convoy was ambushed in the country’s troubled east Violence, which the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo described as a “terrorist attack,” was blamed on a Rwandan Hutu rebel group

Luca Attanasio died of his wounds after a World Food Program (WFP) convoy came under fire near Goma while on a field trip to attend a school lunch program, according to a senior diplomatic source in Kinshasa and that WFP

The Italian government confirmed Attanasio’s death, saying an Italian police officer, Vittorio Iacovacci, and a driver whom it did not identify had also died

UN peacekeeping forces and Congolese troops stationed in the rural area of ​​Kibumba where the attack took place walked down a dirt road between overgrown brush as they prepared to retrieve bodies and track down the attackers

One white WFP vehicle had at least one broken window and residents watched as soldiers walk through the brush

The attackers ran “with the people who were in the cars, on the buses,” Julien Amani Kiza told AFP

Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio expressed his “great dismay and great sadness” when he broke off a Brussels meeting with EU colleagues to return to Rome

In a statement, the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Felix Tshisekedi said he “condemn this terrorist attack very strongly” and promised an investigation

Previously, the Interior Ministry had blamed “Members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR),” a Rwandan Hutu rebel group that has ravaged the region for more than a quarter of a century, for the murders

EU leader Ursula von der Leyen expressed “shock” about the attack in a region “where the population is suffering from unacceptable violence”

Attanasio, 43, has represented Italy in Kinshasa since 2017, first as head of mission and then as ambassador from October 2019

The envoy suffered “gunshot wounds in the abdomen” and was taken to a hospital in Goma in critical condition, said a diplomat in Kinshasa

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a vast country the size of continental Europe and has faced numerous conflicts, particularly in its remote, mineral-rich east

Numerous militias roam the four eastern provinces, many of which were a legacy of wars in the 1990s that attracted countries in central-southern Africa and claimed millions of lives

According to a US monitor, the Kivu Security Tracker (KST), 122 armed groups were active in the provinces of North and South Kivu, Ituri and Tanganyika in the past year

Monday’s attack occurred north of the north Kivu capital of Goma in the Nyiaragongo Territory – one of the most dangerous parts of the country

The FDLR is one of several armed groups operating there

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Some of the group’s founders were involved in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which the Hutu majority was 800000 people slaughtered, mainly Tutsis, but also moderate Hutu

The group is against the current Rwandan government, but has not launched a large-scale offensive in Rwanda since 2001

In April last year, the FDLR was accused of killing 12 rangers in Virunga National Park, a UNESCO-listed game reserve home to endangered mountain gorillas

Another group in the area north of Goma is a Congolese Tutsi group, also known as the Congolese Revolutionary Army, who captured Goma in 2012-2013

“The delegation was traveling from Goma to a WFP school feeding program in Rutshuru when the incident occurred,” read a statement

“The attack … took place on a street that had previously been cleared for driving without a security escort”

However, the Ministry of the Interior of the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced that the security services and provincial authorities had not received any advance warning and therefore could not provide security

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued a statement calling on the Democratic Republic of the Congo to swiftly investigate a “hideous target” of a UN mission

A UN Security Council statement condemned the attack and “underlined the need to bring the perpetrators of these acts to justice”

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Attanasio entered the Italian diplomatic service in 2003, having previously served in Switzerland, Morocco and Nigeria

He was hailed by Emanuela Del Re, Italy’s Deputy Foreign Minister from 2018 until last month, as “a man of unusual courage, humanity and professionalism”

In January 1993 the French ambassador Philippe Bernard was killed in riots in Kinshasa that were sparked by troops against the dictator Mobutu Sese Seke

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Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Hutu, Italy

News – GB – Italian envoy killed in attack on DR Congo accused of Rwandan Hutu rebels
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Source: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1398993/italian-envoy-killed-in-dr-congo-attack-blamed-on-rwandan-hutu-rebels