Goma, Congo – Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo and two others were killed in an assault on a convoy of the United Nations in eastern Congo on Monday, Italy’s foreign ministry and park authorities said. During an attempted abduction by assailants near the town of Kanyamahoro, a few kilometers (miles) north of the regional capital, Goma, the Virunga National Park told Reuters, the convoy was targeted at about 10:15 am (0815 GMT).
According to a statement by the Italian foreign ministry, the Italian ambassador, Luca Attanasio, and a military policeman traveling with him were killed. The park had said earlier that two people had been killed and the ambassador had been injured in the convoy. The third person killed, diplomatic sources said, was a driver.
It was not immediately clear who the assault was behind. No immediate assertion of liability was made. “It is with deep sorrow that the Foreign Ministry confirms the death today in Goma of the Italian Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Luca Attanasio, and of a policemen from the Carabinieri,” the statement from the Foreign Ministry said.
“The ambassador and the soldier were travelling in a car in a convoy of MONUSCO, the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” it said.Attanasio has been Italy’s head of mission in Kinshasa since 2017 and was made ambassador in 2019, according to the ministry website. In and around Virunga, which lies along Congo’s borders with Rwanda and Uganda, hundreds of armed groups operate. They also regularly targeted park rangers, including six who were killed in an ambush last month.