Global Catholic Peace Movement Seeking Justice for Italian Ambassador Murdered in DR Congo

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The leadership of Pax Christi International, a global Catholic peace movement, has called on the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to bring to justice the killers of Italian Ambassador in the country, Luca Attanasio.

The Ambassador alongside his Italian-born bodyguard, Vittorio Iacovacci, and Congolese driver, Mustafa Milambo were killed February 22 in an ambush on a United Nations convoy in the Eastern part of DRC.

“Pax Christi International and its members in the Great Lakes region strongly condemn this despicable act and call on the government of the DRC to bring the perpetrators of this murder to justice,” officials of the movement say in their Thursday, March 4 statement.

The officials also send their “deepest condolences” to the family of the late Ambassador, to the Italian government, to the family of the diplomat’s bodyguard, and to his Congolese driver.

In the statement obtained by ACI Africa, officials of the Brussels-based Catholic entity and its members in the Great Lakes region of Africa “join the appeal of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to promptly investigate this heinous targeting of this joint United Nations field mission.”  


To the leadership of the 120-member movement, “This terrorism, long criticized by members of the Pax Christi network in the Great Lakes region in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has just reached its climax at the start of 2021.”

“Currently, this insidious scourge which has invaded Congolese territory for thirty years spares no one. Almost every week there are attacks and loss of innocent human life,” Pax Christi officials lament and add, “Indeed, in villages as in cities, assassinations, kidnappings, armed robbery and other acts of terrorism have become legion.”

They further recount, “Armed groups are born regularly and loot the property of populations causing innumerable victims.”

In the March 4 statement, officials of the Catholic movement express their support for the “young members” of the peace clubs supervised by the NGO Africa Reconciled, as well as members of Pax Christi “who continue to promote peace, security, the fight against organized crime, unity, cohabitation peaceful and reconciliation.”

“Together with civil society, they continue to call on the Congolese authorities and the international community to do everything possible to eradicate the armed groups which mourn the population and suffocate the national economy,” the officials say referencing the peace clubs and Pax Christi members.

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The officials of the 76-year-old peace movement however regret that despite the efforts of their collaborators, “no substantial results have been observed on the land where the situation is rather from bad to worse.”

Pax Christi officials are among recent faith-based actors to condemn the killing of the 43-year-old Italian diplomat, eulogized as a supporter of  missionaries and volunteers in the Central African nation.

Pope Francis praised the “exemplary witness” of the Italian Ambassador, and the “expert and generous service” of the police officer, both slain in the February 22 attack.

In his Tuesday, February 23 telegram to Italian President Sergio Mattarella, the Holy Father expressed his sorrow following the murder, describing those who were killed as “servants of peace.”

According to Pope Francis, Luca, a father of three, was a Christian who was dedicated to establish “fraternal and cordial relationships, to reestablish serene and harmonious relationships in the heart of the African country.”


For the Apostolic Nuncio in DRC, Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, the Ambassador’s murder “is not and must not be in vain.”

“In fact, it must be a call not to become accustomed to evil but rather resist evil and pain especially where they seem to have taken up residence, with their sad harvest of victims, among whom, let us not forget, one day could be any one of us,” Archbishop Balestrero said during the Memorial Mass of the diplomat March 2.

In his homily at the event held at Our Lady of Congo Cathedral of DRC’s Kinshasa Archdiocese, Archbishop Balestrero said that Luca distinguished himself above all by having many human and professional qualities.

“He was a frankly open person, capable of forging links with a wide range of people. He was able to transform the Embassy that had been entrusted to him into a kind of big family, willingly taking part in new and varied initiatives, the fruit of his admirable creativity,” the 54-year-old Italian-born representative of the Holy Father in DRC added.