Kinshasa accuses the FDLR of denying it

Congolese authorities blamed the attack that killed the Italian ambassador in Kinshasa and two other people in the eastern DRC on Monday to rebels from Rwandan Hutu of the FDLR.

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Reactions are multiplied by the assassination of the Italian ambassador, his bodyguard and a driver for the World Food Program (WFP). According to the authorities’ version, these procession members died while the security forces tried to release them after their kidnapping north of the city of Goma in northern Kivu. They point the finger at the rebels from the democratic forces for the liberation of Rwanda, reports our correspondent in Kinshasa, Pascal Mulegwa.

According to the Kivu Security Barometer, the FDLR may be responsible for this attack. But it is too early to confirm, because this group is not the only one operating in this area at the foot of the Nyiragongo volcano, the barometer said in a note to Journalist.

The FDLR itself has denied and claimed that its troops are too far from the area, according to those controlled by the Congolese army. “Our troops are very far from the tragedy. This contemptuous act took place between Goma and Kibumba, where elements from the FARDC are installed across the road leading from Goma to Rutshuru, responded Colonel Placide Niyiturinda, spokesman for their fighting armed forces. So FDLR has nothing to do with this attack. An international study must be carried out in order for the truth to be established ”.

Unstable area

Congolese security services are embarrassed by this situation. The Interior Ministry insisted in a statement that the ambassador’s trip had not been notified to the authorities. “The security services and the provincial authorities were unable to secure the convoy specific security measures or come to their aid due to lack of information about their presence in this part of the country, but it was considered unstable”.

Also read: DRC: Italian ambassador killed in an armed attack

The route taken by the ambassador’s convoy, which went to Rutshuru territory, was classified as yellow by the WFP. That is, you had to travel in a convoy or at least two cars, the escort was not mandatory. Although security has improved, there have been some historic cases of attacks in this area in the last two years. In 2018, two British tourists and their Congolese driver were kidnapped there.

Northern Kivu Governor Carly Nzanzu Kasivita also points out that, according to him, the FDLR has developed a real ransom economy. “The survivors heard their captors speak Kinyarwanda, but also the Virunga area on the outskirts of Kibumba. ., is an FDLR zone of influence. They are in the region and exploiting timber, and today, with the lack of wood, they have developed a strategy for kidnapping people. ”

A “terrorist attack”

The Congolese government “deplores this tragedy” and is making “no effort to restore security” in this region “plagued by national and foreign armed groups”. In a message read in the evening by his spokesman on national television, Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi “with the utmost firmness condemned this terrorist attack” and called for the perpetrators of the attack to be “identified and brought to justice”.

I promise the Italian government that the government of my country will do everything to find out who is behind this heinous murder.

Marie Ntumba Nzenza, Congolese Foreign Minister

On the side of the Western Chancelleries, there are still doubts about the circumstances of the incident itself, who fired the bullets that hit the ambassador and his bodyguard killed during an exchange of fire with the park rangers? For the governor of North Kivu, it was the kidnappers themselves who shot the two foreigners and their Congolese driver.

This incident worries the Congolese authorities at the highest summit in the state. A crisis committee met around President Félix Tshisekedi, who decided to send a presidential team to Goma to support the investigation into the attack. An envoy from the Congolese president is due to travel to Rome this Tuesday to bring Tshisekedi’s personal letter to the president of the Italian council.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the Congolese government “to quickly investigate this heinous attack by a joint mission on the ground and bring the perpetrators to justice”. On the side of the European Union. Charles Michel declared himself “shocked” by “these lost lives”. However, the President of the European Council reminded on Twitter that the EU will remain alongside the DRC and its people for security and peace.

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