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Italian envoy killed in DRC was betrayed— widow now claims

Zakia Seddiki
Zakia Seddiki, widow of Italy’s slain ambassador to the DR Congo, Luca Attanasio, holding one of her children, leaves the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs in Rome on February 25, 2021 after attending her husband’s funeral. Photo credit:Vincenzo Pinto | AFP


Almost a week after the murder in North Kivu of Luca Attanasio, the Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the two people from his delegation, his widow has now broken her silence, with claims he was betrayed.

In an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera, Zakia Seddiki recalled how her husband was expressly invited by the World Food Programme (WFP) to see a project carried out in a school near Goma.

Ms Seddiki maintained that the UN organisation did not do all what was necessary to ensure the security of the convoy.

“It was the first time that my husband had travelled from Kinshasa without an armed escort. But we had confidence in this UN organisation,” said Ms Seddiki in the interview.

“Luca was certainly betrayed by someone in WFP who knew that the security measures were inadequate for the situation.”


This hypothesis had already been floated by Nicaise Kibel Bel, a specialist in security and military issues who is based in North Kivu.

Bel had estimated that “at the departure of the convoy, there must have been infiltrators who gave the information which allowed attackers to set the ambush. The ambassador fell into a well-prepared ambush”.

But according to Radio France International, a French public radio service, the WFP deputy director in the DRC Rocco Leone, who survived the February 22 ambush, denounced “speculation in the media” and maintained that he could not immediately discuss details of what had happened.

Concerned about this affair, the Democratic Republic of Congo has already opened investigations to identify the attackers.

Meanwhile, Italy demanded “as quickly as possible, clear and exhaustive answers” in order to clarify the circumstances of the ambassador’s killing.

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