Congo: Rocco Leone, Italian WFP staffer, survived Feb 22 attack

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OCHA/Ivo Brandau

ROME, FEBRUARY 23 – WFP Deputy Country Director in DRC, Rocco Leone, survived the tragic attack in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo on 22 February that costed the lives of the Italian Ambassador Luca Attanasio and of his security escort, Carabiniere Vittorio Iacovacci. Leone was part of the group of seven people travelling in two World Food Programme (WFP) vehicles on the road from Goma to Rutshuru where they were planning to visit a WFP school feeding programme. 

The group comprised five employees of the World Food Programme who were accompanying the Ambassador and his security escort. After leaving Goma at approximately 09:00 am, local time, at approximately 10:15 am the two vehicles were stopped by an armed group and all passengers were forced to disembark from the cars.  The WFP driver of one of the vehicles, Mustapha Milambo was killed at this time. The remaining six passengers were then forced into the surrounding bush at gunpoint where there was an exchange of fire. Al this information come from an update from the WFP. 

During the exchange of fire, Attanasio and Iacovacci were mortally injured and subsequently died. The four other passengers in the group – all WFP staff – are safe and accounted for.  They include WFP Deputy Country Director in DRC, Rocco Leone, WFP School Feeding Programme Assistant, Fidele Zabandora, WFP Security Officer, Mansour Rwagaza, and WFP Driver, Claude Mukata.

The United Nations Department for Safety and Security (UNDSS) will be leading a detailed review of the incident. (@OnuItalia)