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Rwandan Hutu rebels denied claims that they were behind the assassination of the Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, instead accusing the DRC and Rwandan armies of guilt.

An Italian Carabinieri squad, meanwhile, was due to investigate on Tuesday in the DRC.

On Monday, after a World Food Programme (WFP) convoy came under fire near the eastern city of Goma while he was on a field trip, Luca Attanasio died of his wounds. An Italian policeman, Vittorio Iacovacci, and a driver he did not name also died, the Italian government said.

“Members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda [FDLR], a Rwandan Hutu rebel group that has plagued the region for more than a quarter of a century, were blamed for the killings by the DRC interior ministry.”

But in a statement obtained by the AFP news agency on Tuesday, the FDLR denied the assertion.

The ambassador’s convoy was reported to have been targeted near the Rwandan border, “not far from the position of FARDC [DRC] and Rwandan troops.”

“The responsibility for this despicable killing is to be found in the ranks of these two armies and their sponsors who have forged an unnatural alliance to perpetuate the pillaging of eastern DRC,” it said.

The FDLR denied “being involved in the attack” and called on MONUSCO to “shed light” on the killings “instead of resorting to hasty accusations” from Kinshasa and the UN peacekeeping force.

The DRC and Rwandan authorities have not announced the presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo of any regular Rwandan troops.

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But the Kivu Security Tracker researcher, a US monitor, said: “The FDLR is near the location where the attack took place.” It is in the realm of possibility that this attack is the fault of the Rwandan rebels.’

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