Massacre of Italy Ambassador in DRC: A Precursor to Genocide?

Published on 2nd March 2021

The death of Italy’s Ambassador to the DRC, Luca Attanasio (44) on that ill-omened day of 21st February, 2021 shocked many. First of all, it was unexpected. That’s because most of the victims of this criminality in the region are locals and the neighbouring country of Rwanda. Secondly, it is a barbaric and chicken act of crime. Thirdly, it unearths what Rwandan authorities have nagged and forewarned about for a long time to no avail. Now that the world has seen what the authorities in Rwanda saw, it is time to decisively act and bring the culprits to justice quickly.  

When the authorities in Rwanda said that Hutu militias currently based in the DRC are a regional menace, nobody took them seriously. Those who did, thought it was a Rwandan problem. The deaths have vindicated Rwandan authorities and proved the international community iniquitous, for ignoring this real menace.

Now, what should be done? There are a couple of options.

Firstly, regional countries need to jointly address this menace. This will avert the possibility of sucking in superpowers such as Italy whose ambassador was butchered. Once such powers step in, they ensconce themselves and stick in the rickety country with such humungous sources or resource of value. They cannot leave without a fight. They have all arsenals at their disposal. Refer to what is going on in the Maghreb where France and its allies are busy smoking out terrorists.  

Secondly, the international community needs to seriously rethink its stance on the DRC and the Great Lakes region.

Thirdly, time for diplomacy has lapsed. Instead, military muscles must be applied on the conflict to contain it before much harm is done.

Fourthly, authorities in Rwanda must be supported to fight these criminals who have been at large for over twenty years now since they committed heinous crimes in Rwanda in 1994 whereby approx. one million innocent people, mainly Tutsis, were cold-heartedly and cowardly butchered.

For these criminals, the region’s instability is the gift they are looking for in order to survive. Therefore, the region and the international community should avoid falling into their trap by ignoring the conflict. Neutralising and vanquishing such criminals should not mean advancing Rwanda’s agenda but making  the region safe and stable.

We all know how rich the DRC is. There are international carpetbaggers who would like to see the DRC and the region sink into conflict in order for them to get a cheap supply of resources. While this may be viable in the short run, a destabilised Great Lakes Region will be nothing but a cul-de-sac not only for the region but also for the international community in the long run.

Imagine, if all countries in the region would bequeath at least two thousand soldiers a piece to tracking and neutralising these criminals. The region must unite and break the jinx of Africa’s disunity that started in 1884 when European colonial powers divided and partitioned Africa. That’s why the trepidation about slurping such forces in the DRC is real.

The region and the international community should seize this opportunity quickly and finish the business once and for all for the benefit, prosperity and the stability of the region and the world. What’s been ongoing in Afghanistan and the Middle East must provide a lesson on how a conflict can slog on and subvert the region and the world at large. We mustn’t allow the genie to get out of the bottle. Prevention is better than cure.  The blood of innocent Congolese, Rwandans and now diplomats will always be on our heads shall we maintain our negligence about the conflict.

Western countries such as Italy–––whose diplomats have been butchered–––must now unfalteringly chastise and support the Great Lakes region to wake up and collectively put heads around this problem. Shall they resolve the problem, they’ll prove not only how mature Africa has become but also how it has learnt from its mistakes. Enough is enough. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

By Nkwazi Mhango

Mhango is a lifetime member of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL) and author of over 20 books among which are Africa Reunite or Perish, 'Is It Global War on Terrorism' or Global War over Terra Africana? How Africa Developed Europe and contributed many chapters in scholarly works.


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