A UN official said Monday that those responsible for an armed attack which led to the death of the Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo must be identified and brought to justice.
"I am devastated by the death of Ambassador Luca Attanasio, one of his colleagues, as well as a colleague from the World Food Program [WFP]," said David McLachlan-Karr, the deputy special representative of the UN secretary-general in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who is also the acting head of the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO).
He condemned in the strongest terms the attack on the WFP convoy and expressed his support for all his colleagues at the WFP.
"Those responsible for this attack must be identified and prosecuted with the utmost determination," he added.
Attanasio, 43, Italian police officer Vittorio Iacovacci, 30, and their Congolese WFP driver – whose name has not been released – were killed in an armed attack Monday in the eastern part of the country.
In a statement, the UN World Food Program expressed its “deepest sympathy and condolences” to the families, colleagues and friends of the three victims.
The organization said its delegation was on a field visit in the DRC, adding a number of other passengers were also wounded in the attack.
The delegation had departed from the city of Goma to visit a WFP-run school feeding program in the town of Rutshuru when the incident took place, it said.
''Attacks on convoys and humanitarian personnel constitute a war crime punishable by Congolese and international law. Access to humanitarian aid is a fundamental right, and humanitarians must have free access to civilian populations,'' the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) in the DRC said.
"My sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the three people tragically killed, including the Italian ambassador to the #DRC, while on a @WFP field mission in the Eastern DRC," Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission, tweeted.
"Shocked by the extremely horrific attack on a @WFP field mission outside #Goma today. My sincere condolences to the families loved ones of the three people who were tragically killed, including the Italian Ambassador to #DRC," World Health Organization Africa director Matshidiso Moeti tweeted.