AFRICA/DR CONGO - Italian ambassador killed in kidnapping attempt: "He was very close to the missionaries"

Tuesday, 23 February 2021 armed groups   voluntary work   missionaries  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) – The Italian Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Luca Attanasio, assassinated yesterday, February 22nd "was close to the missionary world working in the east of the country". The Italian policeman Vittorio Iacovacci and the Congolese driver Mustafa Milambo also died.
This is what Monica Corna, head of the Salesian mission VIS (International Volunteering for Development) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who has worked alongside the Salesians for 18 years, reported in an interview with Agenzia Fides. "Luca Attanasio was well known to the missionary community of North Kivu - says Monica Corna who, for 18 years has been working with the VIS at the Don Bosco Center in Goma, capital of the eastern Congolese province. He was surely a very enthusiastic person who believed in what he was doing", stresses the volunteer. "Ambassador Attanasio went to North Kivu to see firsthand the difficult situation of the local populations. For him, it was important to see a certain reality in order to have a direct vision and be a true witness".
Concerning the dynamics of the ambush, Monica Corna declares: "I do not have the elements to make assumptions about what happened" but she adds that "if the emotion caused by the death of our compatriots in Italy is understandable, we must not give in to anger and I hope that an act of this kind will not make someone say that they must no longer help the Congo". This would go against the spirit that animated Luca Attanasio, who believed that the Democratic Republic of Congo should have its rightful place among the nations".
"The reaction of the Congolese is pain and dismay," says the volunteer. "Many people wonder why our country makes international headlines only when such tragedies occur".
Indeed, the international press only deals with the DRC and in particular this region when foreign nationals and especially Westerners are involved in the violence "even though violence against local populations is almost daily and that they are passed over in silence", emphasizes the VIS volunteers.
The ambush that led to the death of the three men took place yesterday morning, February 22, in the vicinity of the village of Kibumba, 3 km from Goma. The circumstances of the triple murder are still being assessed. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 23/2/2021)