BOTSWANA. Gaborone: The Southern African Development Community (SADC) yesterday vowed to continue working with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government and the international community to bring peace and security to the DRC.
This followed the killing of the Italian Ambassador to DRC, His Excellency Luca Attanasio together with his Bodyguard and driver on February 22 in an attack that occurred in Northern Kivu Province which nearly borders Rwanda.
In a condolence statement SADC chairperson on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, His Excellency Mokgweetsi Masisi said the development threatens peace and stability in the region as a whole.
“There is no doubt that this unfortunate development is a serious setback to the ongoing efforts to restore normalcy in the Eastern part of the DRC”.
“It also calls for a thorough assessment of the security situation in that part of the DRC, as the United Nations Mission is working on its withdrawal process from the country”, he said.
He reassured DRC and the international community that SADC will remain seized with the situation in the Eastern part of the DRC, in partnership with the country’s government and the United Nations, in the efforts to bring about lasting peace and security in the country.
“SADC condemns in the strongest possible terms, this barbaric and heinous act of cowardice. It is our fervent hope that the perpetrators will be quickly arrested and brought to justice”, he said
Attanasio and the crew were on a mission with World Food Programme (WFP) where they were traveling from a school feeding programme.
A statement by WFP shows that the convoy was forced to disembark from the vehicles by an armed group and the driver was killed at that particular time.
Attanasio and his bodyguard were killed during the fire exchanges.
However, the attack was pointed to the Rwandan Hutu which has been known for killing and abduct civilians for many years.
Attanasio has become the second diplomat killed while in service in DRC after French Ambassador Phillipe Bernard who was killed in 1993 during the Kinshasa riots.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the DRC government to investigate the “heinous targeting” of a United Nations joint field mission swiftly and to bring the perpetrators to justice.