Italy’s Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo got killed in an ambush in the east of the DRC, his foreign ministry said.
Luca Attanasio, 43, died in hospital on Monday after the United Nations convoy he was travelling in came under fire near Goma, a statement said.
The convoy reportedly belonged to the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP).
An Italian military police officer traveling with the envoy and a Congolese driver were also killed.
“It is with deep sadness that the foreign ministry confirms the death, today in Goma, of the Italian ambassador,” the ministry’s statement said.
On patrol: Night vision in Congo
The attack in North Kivu province is believed to have been an attempted kidnapping, according to officials at the nearby Virunga National Park.
What do we really know about the attack?
Mr. Attanasio was a passenger in one of the two vehicles traveling about 15 km north of Goma when the attack occurred Monday morning.
The vehicles were “ambushed by a group of six attackers, who fired warning shots before taking all the passengers into the Virunga National Park”, the governor of North Kivu province, Carly Nzanzu, told the BBC.
“That’s when a patrol of Virunga National Park rangers intervened and managed to free four people,” he said.
“Unfortunately, before they ran away, the assailants shot the ambassador and his bodyguard, and they killed the Congolese driver at the start of the attack,” the governor added.
The WFP said Mr. Attanasio was traveling from Goma to visit a “schools program” in the village of Rutshuru in eastern DR Congo.
“The attack … occurred on a road that had previously been cleared for travel
without security escorts,” the Rome-based agency said in a statement.
The two other fatalities were military police officer Vittorio Iacovacci, 30, who had been serving at the embassy since last September, and their Congolese driver, whose name has not yet been officially released.
A number of other passengers were reportedly injured.
It is not clear who was behind the attack, but many armed groups are known to operate in and around the park.
Militias also clash regularly in the east of the country, where a large UN force is struggling to keep the peace.
The DRC army has since deployed troops to help search the area.
Just a few questions to be answered by someone out there:
Congo is too disorganized that almost nobody knows who is behind all this mess. What are the deep agendas of all these small rebel groups? FDLR, MAI-MAI, CODECO, FPIC, and many more. They have killed close to a million people altogether and the government in charge has never taken a step to deal with that matter in a more effective way. They will only publish news of the incident and condemn the act, but no tangible solution initiated.
“When there is no enemy inside, no enemy from outside can cause harm”.
The Government of Dr. Congo will only manage to solve the insecurity problems the day they will decide to bring tangible solutions to it.
Is it just because somebody out there needs Gold, Diamond, Coltan, Nickel, etc … that they have to do all this against humanity?
The Congolese people have died for very many years as a result of this same insecurity, and now other countries’ citizens are being affected by the same mess. ” Tangible solution must be brought on the table”, says one of the war survivors.
BBC news. (n.d.). World-Africa. Retrieved February 22nd, 2021, from https://www.bbc.com/news