DRC Ambassador, Carabiniere victims of ‘cowardly attack’

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(ANSA) – ROME, FEB 24 – Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told
the Lower House on Wednesday that Italy’s Ambassador to the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Luca Attanasio, and Carabiniere
police officer Vittorio Iacovacci were “victims of a cowardly
attack” this week.
    Attanasio and Iacovacci and a Congolese driver, Mustapha
Milambo, were killed on Monday while travelling from Goma to
Rutshuru in the east of the African country where they were
planning to visit a UN World Food Programme (WFP) school feeding
programme.
    Di Maio said that the government has asked the United Nations
and the WFP to open an investigation into the attack.
    “We have formally asked the UN and the WFP to open an
investigation that clarifies what happened, the reasons behind
the security provisions used and who was responsible for these
decisions,” Di Maio said as he reported to parliament on the
attack.
    “We have also explained that we expect clear, exhaustive answers
in the shortest period of time possible”. The minister said that a team from the Carabinieri’s ROS special
operations group was in DR Congo to gather evidence for an
investigation by Rome prosecutors into the case.
    Di Maio said other investigative missions would follow.
    The DR Congo government has blamed Rwandan rebel group FDLR for
the attack.
    It said Attanasio and Iacovacci were killed by their assailants,
ruling out the hypothesis that the friendly fire of Congolese
security forces may have caused the deaths.
    “We owe our fallen the truth before everything,” Di Maio said.
    “But the best way to honour the memory of Ambassador Luca
Attanasio and Carabiniere Vittorio Iacovacci is to continue to
strengthen our political attention for the African continent,
something Luca strongly believed in with passion and dedication.
    “He had devoted most of his diplomatic career and his personal
efforts to Africa and the support of the weakest, with the
activities organized by the Mama Sofia NGO founded by his wife
Zakia in Kinshasa”. The bodies of Attanasio, 43, and Iacovacci, a-30-year-old who
was part of the ambassador’s security detail, arrived in Italy
late on Tuesday.
    Autopsies are set to be performed on Wednesday.
    Di Maio said Attanasio and Iacovacci were “heroes” and would have a State funeral in Rome on Thursday. (ANSA).
   

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