Italy paid tribute to its ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Luca Attanasio and her bodyguard Vittorio Iacovacci, who were killed en route on a UN convoy, honoring them with a state funeral and prayers for peace in Congo and all countries “torn by war and violence. ”
Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, papal vicar to Rome, presided over a solemn funeral at the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli which was attended by Prime Minister Mario Draghi, top parliamentarians, representatives of the armed forces and relatives of young people.
Ambassador Luca Attanasio and paramilitary officer Carabiniere Vittorio Iacovacci were killed Monday north of Goma when an armed group stopped them as they were traveling in a two-car convoy to a World Food Program school feeding project. Congolese WFP driver, Moustapha Milambo, was also killed in the attack.
Italy has officially asked the United Nations to investigate what happened amid questions about whether UN security arrangements were sufficient for the mission.
My sincere condolences to the families of the victims and my full solidarity. https://t.co/GdrFJRRhd8
– Jean-Yves Le Drian (@JY_LeDrian) 22 February 2021
In his speech, De Donatis condemned the “stupid and vicious” attack and said it was true that Italy, Congo and the community of nations wept over the violence that “ripped Luca and Vittorio out of this world.”
“Let us pray together that today will be a day when prayers for peace in Congo and in all countries torn by various forms of war and violence are raised to heaven,” he said.
He denounced how many Congolese people feel the constant threat of danger from rebel groups “knocking on their doors”, saying that the country has been “ruthlessly destroyed by violence that makes their children die every day.”
But he praised men for working for peace and protecting others “even at the cost of their own lives.”
“If this is the fate of the peace workers, what will be the fate of all of us?” He asked.
Funeral, done in person RAI television, featuring masked Carabinieri officers as coffin bearers and altar servers, with a military band performing Chopin’s haunting “Funeral March” as flag-draped coffins are carried in and out of the basilica.
After the service, the socially distant crowd applauded as two hearses emerged from the piazza carrying coffins for burial, flanked by police escorts.
Attanasio left behind his wife and three young daughters, at least one of whom attended the funeral, as well as his parents and siblings. Iacovacci left behind his fiance and other family members.