The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has banned the travel of ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions outside the capital Kinshasa without prior authorization.
The decision follows the deadly attack on the convoy of the Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio in Kimbumba area near the city of Goma, North Kivu, eastern DRC.
On Tuesday, President Felix Tshisekedi made the decision at the presidential palace during a special security meeting with the country’s foreign minister, deputy defense minister and security officials. His emissary was also received in the North Kivu region.
“We would obviously like the DRC to be able to say who did what on the Kibumba incident. The DRC has first of all the responsibility to investigate as the host country where the events took place but everything will depend on the will of other countries, for example Italy, which lost its ambassador, but we are a country that has very good relations with Italy and everything will have to be settled in a diplomatic framework. I am not investigators for all the other people who have done the law, the investigations are secret at first, not the time to start saying who is arrested but we are on all possible tracks”. Carly Nzanzu Kasivita, Governor of North Kivu said.
After a security meeting, Christian Bushiri, the senior adviser to President Felix Tshisekedi visited the family of the Congolese driver Mustafa who was killed in the ambush.
“While hoping that these kinds of atrocities will never happen to other families again, be assured that the Head of State himself is with you and has sent me to come and meet you to present his condolences. He is at your side and when the time comes, he will see to what extent he will come to the East to work nearby – Christian Bushiri, told the grieving driver’s mother.
The province of North Kivu where the attack took place is considered one of the most dangerous areas in the DRC, bordering the Virunga National Park.
But according to humanitarian officials, the route on which the convoy was travelling did not require an escort.
Ambassador Luca Attanasio and his security escort, Vittorio Iacovacci, were among seven people travelling in two WFP vehicles from Goma, capital of North Kivu province, to visit one of the agency’s school feeding programmes in Rutshuru, approximately 40 kilometres away.
According to the UN news, the group left Goma at approximately 9:00 AM, local time, on Monday before being ambushed by an armed group around 10:15 AM, forcing all the passengers to disembark. One of the drivers, Mustapha Milambo, was killed at this time.
“The remaining six passengers were then forced into the surrounding bush at gunpoint where there was an exchange of fire”, WFP said.
“During the exchange of fire, the Italian Ambassador, Luca Attanasio and his security escort, Vittorio Iacovacci, were mortally injured and subsequently died.”