In the dynamic that on Monday led to the death of the Italian ambassador in Kinshasa, Luca Attanasio, of the carabiniere Vittorio Iacovacci, and of their Congolese driver Mustapha Milambo, there are some established facts and several doubts that the investigators will try to resolve. According to the testimonies collected by InfoAfrica / AGI, the convoy was made up of two cars of the World Food Program (WFP) and seven people, four Congolese and three Italians. In addition to Attanasio and Iacovacci, the third Italian involved in the ambush – Rocco Leone, deputy director of WFP in Kinshasa – is in good condition, having only sustained minor injuries. The other three who are missing are Congolese citizens who have been kidnapped by the commando.
“The members of the convoy, seven people including Attanasio, were first blocked and carried into the bush by attackers who spoke in Kinyarwanda, before being killed by the attackers themselves, during a firefight between the latter and a group of forest guards on patrol in the area, with the support of soldiers from the Congolese armed forces “. This reconstruction provided to InfoAfrica from a local source who preferred to remain anonymous for security reasons corresponds in part to that released in a statement by the Congolese Ministry of the Interior. The element of Kinyarwanda would suggest the involvement of the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (Fdlr) which, however, denied their involvement with a press release. pointing the finger at elements of the Congolese and Rwandan armies. In the area of the Virunga mountains, between Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, many rebel groups operate which often target the rangers of the park, famous for its mountain gorillas.
The dynamics of the attack appear clear: around 10.15, near Kibumba, a commando of six armed men fired warning shots at the first of the two jeeps of the convoy, in which Ambassador Attanasio and Carabiniere Iacovacci were traveling. The driver, Mustapha Milambo is killed, while Attanasio and Iacovacci, probably wounded, are taken to the forest. Shortly after, a patrol from the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation intervenes together with a unit of the Congolese army, which were in the area. In the firefight with the Virunga rangers, Attanasio is shot to death and the commando escapes taking Iacovacci with him but after a kilometer and a half kills the carabiniere, leaving behind the body that is found by the soldiers.
If the dynamics seem clear, pending further elements on the responsibilities, the other obscure point concerns the absence of an armed guard in the convoy, apart from the presence of the carabiniere. The fact that the local police officer said he was not aware of the ambassador’s move to the area, “in such a dangerous area, has raised surprise and many questions”, the local source said again. Consequently, what would be the reasons that prompted the ambassador’s convoy to enter an area – along the road from Goma to Rutshuru – potentially dangerous without an escort? In a statement, WFP claimed that the attack “took place on a road that had previously been declared safe for travel without safety escorts”. A statement that apparently contrasts with the statements from the Congolese side. Certainly, Ambassador Attanasio was not new to these areas and knew the pitfalls. He had already been to Kivu, and in recent days he had stayed in Bukavu, before returning by boat to Goma.