Quito, February 22 (EFE): The Ecuadorian government condemned, on Monday, the killing of the Italian ambassador in Kinshasa, Luca Atanasio, during an attack on a UN convoy in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“Ecuador strongly condemns the assassination of the Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” who was “accompanied by an armed police officer while he was being transported in a UN convoy,” the ministry said in a statement. Foreign relations in Quito.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs added that “this unfortunate act violates all the rules and principles of international law and peaceful coexistence between peoples.” Therefore, Ecuador “demands clarification of this tragic incident that mourns the Italian state and the international community.”
According to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ambassador and the police were traveling in a convoy of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio expressed his “extreme pain” after hearing the news and said that “the circumstances of this brutal attack are not known yet” and that “he will spare no effort to clarify what happened.”
The north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has been plunged into a years-long conflict sparked by dozens of national and foreign armed rebel groups, despite the presence of the Congolese army and the forces of the United Nations Mission, which includes more than 15,000 soldiers, spread across the country.
On Monday, the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) accused the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) of killing the Italian ambassador near the Congolese city of Goma (northeast).
Monusco stated that the attack, in which the driver of the car in which the two Italian charges was traveling, was killed, targeting two vehicles of the United Nations World Food Program.
The accident occurred in Kibumba, 25 kilometers northeast of Goma, in North Kivu province, in an area where the Virunga National Park is located, on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, and where various armed groups operate.
Atanasio, 43, married and father of three daughters, took over the leadership of the mission in Kinshasa in September 2017, where he was implementing many humanitarian projects. EFE
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