Mon. Mar 1st, 2021
Italy Mourns an Ambassador and His Bodyguard, Killed in Congo


Italians on Tuesday mourned the death of Luca Attanasio, the Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, who was killed in an ambush with his bodyguard and their driver though taking component in a humanitarian convoy with the Planet Meals Plan.

The nationwide media have been packed with tributes to Mr. Attanasio, 43, who was lauded as the youthful and humanitarian encounter of Italian diplomacy.

Mr. Attanasio’s killing struck a deep nerve in Italy, which has been below strain more than the previous yr simply because of the pandemic and a political crisis that designed weeks of uncertainty. Numerous Italians also continue to be delicate to the fate of their nationals abroad immediately after the brutal killing of a graduate pupil, Giulio Regeni, in Egypt in 2016.

Photographs of Mr. Attanasio surrounded by Congolese young children, or posing with his wife and 3 compact daughters, dominated the front pages of Italy’s dailies.

“Luca and Vittorio. The most effective of Italy,” go through the headline of the Turin-primarily based every day La Stampa, referring to Vittorio Iacovacci, the thirty-yr-outdated Italian military police officer who died with the ambassador and their Congolese driver, Mustapha Milambo of the Planet Meals Plan.

“Yesterday I couldn’t express to his loved ones the deep sorrow of the whole Foreign Ministry and our sincere closeness,” Elisabetta Belloni, the ministry’s secretary standard, wrote in an editorial in the every day Corriere della Sera. “Because silence and emotion prevailed.”

“Luca was a generous individual who wished to do excellent,” Ms. Belloni explained. “He believed that Italy — with the European Union and the United Nations — could perform an critical function to market advancement and peace. To this target he devoted himself with humbleness, but also with absolute dedication and preparedness.”

Pope Francis on Tuesday expressed his condolences to the victims’ households, the diplomatic corps and the military police “for the disappearance of these servants of peace and law.”

Prosecutors in Rome started off an investigation into the accident, sending a staff of investigators to Goma, the capital of North Kivu, close to the place the killings took spot. The president and the highest-ranking officials of the Democratic Republic of Congo pledged to get to the bottom of the tragedy, which took spot in an location close to the border with Rwanda that is regarded for violence.

Dozens of armed groups compete in kidnappings and violent actions in the location. Rebels from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda is the most significant foreign armed group working in Congo. The rebel group on Tuesday denied any involvement in the assault, saying that their males have been far from the location.

On Tuesday, the Congolese president, Félix Tshisekedi, and his wife, met with Mr. Attanasio’s wife, Zakia Seddiki, who is the president of a nongovernmental organization in Congo that assists gals and young children in will need.

In a statement go through on nationwide Television, Mr. Tshisekedi explained the government had sent a staff of investigators to Goma “so that light is shed on these heinous crimes as quickly as attainable.”

It was unclear whether or not Mr. Attanasio and his bodyguard have been shot as component of a kidnapping try gone incorrect, or whether or not he was murdered through an exchange of gunfire among the armed group, and park rangers and a Congolese Army unit close by.

Mr. Attanasio was headed to Rutshuru, in the north, to go to a Planet Meals Plan venture to feed college young children, partially funded by the Italian government, in a convoy of two automobiles. The Planet Meals Plan explained the street that they took had previously been cleared for travel without the need of safety escorts.

The evening in advance of the assault, Mr. Attanasio and Mr. Iacovacci dined with a compact group of Italian expatriates in Goma.

“He explained he admired our get the job done on the front lines and was proud of us right here,” Miriam Ruscio, the Italian head of plans for the support group AVSI in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who attended the dinner, explained of Mr. Attanasio.

“It is devastating to know that he is gone,” Ms. Ruscio explained.

In a video interview published by the Italian information company Ansa, Salvatore Attanasio, the ambassador’s father, explained, “We are devastated, it is an incommensurable reduction.”

He additional, “These are unjust matters that really should by no means ever occur.”

Steve Wembi contributed reporting from Kinshasa.

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