DRC authorities require notification before foreign diplomats travel across country
KINSHASA, Feb. 25 — The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) now requires accredited diplomats to notify the relevant authorities in advance before traveling through the country’s provinces.
The decision was announced Tuesday by Foreign Minister Marie Tumba Nzenza after a security meeting chaired by President Felix Tshisekedi in Kinshasa, following the death of Italian Ambassador Luca Attanasio in the east of the country.
The Italian diplomat succumbed to his wounds a few minutes after his convoy was ambushed by armed attackers on the road to Goma-Rutshuru, province of North Kivu where he was going on a humanitarian mission with the World Food Program (WFP).
According to the statement released by the president’s office after the meeting, “ambassadors and other heads of diplomatic missions can no longer leave Kinshasa for the interior of the country without informing the head of Congolese diplomacy and the relevant services”.
On Monday in Kinshasa, the Congolese authorities stressed that neither the army nor the police was aware of the presence of the Italian ambassador in the province and of his displacement in this red zone following the presence of armed groups.
In another statement released late Monday evening, President Felix Tshisekedi condemned this attack, which he describes as “terrorism which claimed the life of the ambassador of a country friendly to the DRC”.
The Congolese authorities accuse the Hutu-Rwandan rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda of being behind the attack. In a statement released Tuesday in the east of the country, the rebels denied responsibility for the attack on the UN convoy.