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DR Congo Govt Vows To Fish Out Killers Of Italian Ambassador

The Italian Ambassador to DRC was killed in an attack by yet-to-be-identified shooters.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC government, says it will do everything in its powers to ensure that the Italian Ambassador’s killers are brought to book. The ambassador was murdered in Kibuma, Monday morning.

“I have made a promise to the Italian government that the government of my country would put all in place to discover who is behind this ignoble murder,” said Ntumba Nzeza, DR Congo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

The Italian ambassador, Luca Attanasio, was killed Monday morning in an attack in the locality of Kibumba, 25 kilometres to the Northeast of Goma in North Kivu.

The convoy in which he was travelling was made up of two vehicles with seven persons on board. 

His bodyguard and driver were killed on the spot. The ambassador, who was seriously wounded, was rushed to the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) hospital in Goma, where he was administered emergency treatment before succumbing to his injuries.

According to an announcement by David McLachlan-Karr, the Assistant Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN in DR Congo, the delegation in which the Italian ambassador was a member was going to Goma in Rutshuru to visit a school food programme of the World Food Programme (WFP) when the convoy was attacked.

“The World Food Programme will collaborate with the national authorities to determine the details of the attack which took place on a road for which prior authority to ply without a security escort had been obtained,” the UN agency said.

“I have been overwhelmed by the death of Ambassador Luca Attanasa, one of his colleagues as well as a colleague of the World Food Programme,” declared David McLachlan-Karr, who is the interim head of the UN Mission in the DR Congo, adding that “those responsible for this attack must be identified and pursued with the strongest determination.”

“An ambassador comes to a faraway land, and he moves around without the security services being in the know,” declared General Aba Van Ang, Provincial Commissioner of the Congolese National Police, this afternoon.

The murdered ambassador was the First Counsellor in the Italian Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2015 before being posted to Kinshasa in Sept. 2017 as Chief of Mission. 

He was confirmed as ambassador two years later in Oct. 2019.

Reactions have been pouring in since the death of Ambassador Luca Attanasio was announced.

Michael Sakombi, a former collaborator of She Okitundu, who was Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, declared:

“Luca arrived in the DR Congo first as interim Charge d’Affaires within the context of tension between Kinshasa and Rome following an incident with the ambassador designated by Italy in 2016. A young, affable and charming diplomat, he succeeded in rekindling relations between our two countries with his sense of initiative.”

“On two occasions, Vice Prime Minister She Okitundu went to Rome to ensure a thaw in relations. Kinshasa named a new ambassador and, satisfied with the positive role played by Luca, suggested that he be maintained. He is confirmed as ambassador, a rare case for an interim. A good friend is gone. Ciao Ambasciatore.”

On his part, Bart Ouvry, the former Ambassador of the European Union in DR Congo, who is now in Mali, said: “I mourn the death of Luca, Ambassador of Italy in DR Congo in an ambush in Goma. I have lost a colleague and friend with a rare enthusiasm and generosity in our profession of diplomats. During my mandate in DR Congo, he supported me at all moments, as well as during the most difficult moments. I know that he profoundly loved the DR Congo and Congolese. My emotional thoughts go to Zakia and his three girls.”

“I am profoundly saddened by the assassination of the Italian ambassador, his bodyguard and his driver. Ambassador Luca Attanasio was a warm man killed in his prime. My condolences to the Italian government and to the families of the dead”, declared Martin Fayulu, a leading Congolese political figure.

On his part, another political leader, Moise Katumbi, pointed an accusing finger at “the criminals who are sowing death in Kivu” for the murder of the Italian ambassador.

“I strongly condemn these ignoble acts. May he rest in peace and all my condolences to the affected families,” Katumbi said.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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