One year after the ambush, new details emerge on the death of ambassador Luca Attanasio and carabiniere Vittorio Iacovacci . According to what was reported by the newspapers Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica, which cite the papers of the investigation by the Public Prosecutor of Rome, the two Italians were ” killed for 50 thousand dollars “. A reconstruction that tries to shed light on what happened on February 22, 2021 in Goma, Congo, when the convoy on which the diplomat and the carabiniere, who was his escort, were traveling, were stopped along one of the streets of Virunga National Park. Then the commando’s request: the ” release in exchange for a sum of money“. Those present did not have this amount and so the ambush turned into an attempted kidnapping for the purpose of extortion. But before reaching the forest on foot, with the hostages taken from the car riddled with shots, the tragedy was consummated.
The Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio
In recent days, the prosecutors of piazzale Clodio proceeded to close the investigation against Rocco Leone, deputy director of WFP, the UN food program and his collaborator Mansour Rwagaza. accusation and manslaughter for failing to comply with security protocolsin the preparation of the mission of Attanasio. During the interrogation, Leone, released unharmed, reconstructed the dramatic phases of the ambush. “I gave everything I had, 300-400 dollars and my cell phone. The ambassador also began to take off the things he was wearing, certainly his wallet and perhaps his watch – he explained to the investigators -. I told Iacovacci to stay calm and not to take the gun, maybe even the ambassador told him the same thing “. Rwagaza said that the bandits “gave orders to hand over the money. They wanted $ 50,000, otherwise they would have taken us to the forest and then asked for a ransom. I told Rocco Leone that we had to cooperate to prevent us from being shot”.
The six arrested
. The commando
Revelations that do not “add much to what we already knew. On the contrary. New contradictions still emerge between the findings of the Italian and Congolese investigators “, and the comment of Attanasio’s father in the editorial of ‘Focus on Africa’ (the magazine on the African continent directed by Antonella Napoli). “The statements contained in the documents are old statements collected by the Carabinieri del Ros when they went to Kinshasa in February last year – continues Salvatore Attanasio -. The investigation cannot be said to be closed also because the Ros must return to Congo. I would like to point out that the suspects have provided various versions and then do not add up. Those arrested in the Congo blitz speak of a million dollars as the entity of the ransom demand, Rwaghaza of 50,000. Who is lying
“, concludes Attanasio.
The vehicle in which the victims traveled along one of the roads of the Virunga National Park
The agitated phases of that February 21st are mostly documented by the photos of the vehicles with broken glass and the stories of those who saved themselves from the ambush , in particular the third Italian Rocco Leone. The bandits would have fired gunshots at the first car of the convoy, in which the victims were traveling. The first to die would have been the driver of the World Food Program, Mustapha Milambo, then the ambassador Attanasio and the carabiniere Iacovacci would be taken from the vehicle and taken with the others to the forest.
The driver Mustapha Milambo
During the journey the bandits, disturbed by the arrival of local forces, allegedly shot the carabiniere Iacovacci. Circumstance in which the diplomat also died.
Carabiniere Vittorio Iacovacci
At the time of the events, InfoAfrica wrote: “The members of the convoy, seven people (six men will be arrested) including Ambassador Luca Attanasio, were brought into the forest by the attackers, who spoke in Kinyarwanda, before being killed by them. attackers during a fire fight with forest guards patrolling the area supported by the Congolese armed forces “. There are three investigations underway : that of the World Food Program (WFP), that of the Public Prosecutor of Rome and that of the Congolese.
The six arrested
To tell about that tragic morning and also Attanasio’s wifefrom the pages of “Luca Attanasio. Story of an ambassador of peace”. Zakia Seddiki, the woman of Moroccan origin whom the diplomat had met in a previous mission in Morocco and with whom he was raising a young family with three small daughters, writes: “Monday 22 February 2021. I had to be with Luca but this time to by coincidence, my mother who could not keep the girls, I had been forced to stay in Kinshasa. It was a very normal morning, like all the others – she then says -, I had prepared the girls and I was taking them to school by car. traffic was particularly congested I knew that Luca was planning to pay a visit to the Pam project regarding school canteens and that he was always with Vittorio. He had called his mother Alida for a short greeting and then he had called me too. It was 8 in the morning “.
Seddiki announced the Mama Sofia Foundation – created to promote values ​​and initiatives of peace, justice and solidarity among peoples through activities of social interest and works of information, education and training in the culture of integration, legality and non-violence – which includes among the founders the general secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ambassador Ettore Francesco Sequi.
One year after Veronica Fernandes ‘ interview with Zakia Seddiki with Andrea Vaccarella .
The Virunga National Park, located in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and often the scene of bloody attacks. Most of the killings involve rangers, who are in charge of animal surveillance. The area, located in the North Kivu province, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 and has been in danger since 1994. It is a unique place for the richness of biodiversity and a refuge for the latest mountain gorilla species.
Virunga Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo
The region, on the border with Rwanda, is historically unstable due to the so-called Great African Warfought between 1998 and 2003. Since then the Virunga, an area of ​​7,800 km² that hosts important populations of elephants, hippos, okapi and chimpanzees, has also become the logistical base of armed groups that threaten the future of the oldest and most protected area of Africa. Among the militias active in the area are FDLR-FOCA; Nyatura CMC (Collectif des Mouvements pour le Changement); Mai Mai, Charles alias AFRC alias AFARPM (Alliance des Forces Armees de Resistants Patriotes Mai Mai) or similar forces (Rwandan Hutus). Rai News 24 dedicated a special to the story

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