Hutu Rebels Accuse DRC, Rwanda Over Italian Ambassador's Death
Umer Jamshaid 3 days ago Tue 23rd February 2021 | 06:30 PM
Kinshasa, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 23rd Feb, 2021 ) :Rwandan Hutu rebels on Tuesday denied accusations they were behind the killing of the Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo and instead blamed the armies of the DRC and Rwanda, as further details emerged about the attack.
The DRC's interior ministry on Monday blamed the killings on "members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR)" -- a Rwandan Hutu rebel group that has plagued the region for more than a quarter of a century.
"The responsibility for this despicable killing is to be found in the ranks of these two armies and their sponsors who have forged an unnatural alliance to perpetuate the pillaging of eastern DRC," it said.
The DRC and Rwanda authorities have not reported the presence of any regular Rwandan troops in the DRC.
But an expert at the Kivu Security Tracker (KST), a US monitor, told AFP the Hutu rebel group has a known presence in the region.
"The FDLR are near the place where the attack took place. It's in the realm of possibility that the Rwandan rebels are responsible for this attack," the expert said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Some of the FDLR's founders were involved in the 1994 Rwandan genocide during which the Hutu majority slaughtered 800,000 people, mainly Tutsis but also Hutu moderates.
- Dangerous region - Monday's attack occurred north of the North Kivu capital of Goma on National Highway 2 -- a road that runs through thickly forested, mountainous terrain next to the porous border with Rwanda.
The world-renowned Virunga National Park, a UNESCO-listed wildlife reserve that is a haven for critically-endangered mountain gorillas, straddles the area.
DRC President Felix Tshisekedi's office said Attanasio had arrived in Goma on Friday morning aboard a MONUSCO plane.
He left on Monday morning in a two-vehicle WFP convoy heading for Kiwanja, in the Rutshuru area, accompanied by his bodyguard and WFP workers, it said.
The convoy was ambushed three kilometres (1.8 miles) from their destination by six assailants, armed with five AK-47 assault rifles and a machete.
"They proceeded by firing warning shots before forcing the people in the vehicles to get out and follow them into the depths of the (Virunga) park, which they did by shooting dead one of the drivers to create panic," the president's office said.
The DRC interior ministry, in a statement on Monday, said the security services and provincial authorities had not been given advance warning of the trip.
"(They) were unable to provide special security for the convoy or come to its aid because of a lack of information about their presence in this part of the country, despite its reputation for instability," it said.