Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Luca Attanasio, was killed this Monday morning in an attack on a United Nations mission convoy in the country (MONUSCO) accompanying a World Food Program mission outside the city of Goma in the east of the country. Two other people were killed, the ambassador’s guard and the driver of the vehicle in which they were driving.
The Italian Foreign Ministry confirmed that a member of the Carabinieri who was part of the ambassador’s escort died along with Attanasio. “The ambassador and the military were on board a MONUSCO vehicle,” he added to the Italian news agency AdnKronos.
Luca Attanasio, who has served as ambassador to the DR Congo since early 2018, was “shot in the stomach” and taken to a hospital in Goma in “critical condition,” a diplomatic source told AFP.
The Congolese army said that “the Congolese armed forces are trying to find out who the attackers were”.
The attack on the WFP convoy took place north of Goma, capital of North Kivu Province, which has been violently attacked by armed groups for more than 25 years.
This region, where Virunga National Park is located, is also the scene of conflict in North Kivu, where dozens of armed groups are fighting for control of the land and underground wealth.
Attanasio’s death was confirmed by the park’s spokesman, who, according to the Congo news portal Actualité, suspected the attack might have been carried out to kidnap UN personnel. In 2018, two British tourists were kidnapped at the site of the attack on Monday.
However, so far there is no information on the motivation for the attack and its authorship.
Italian news agency Ansa said the head of the European Union delegation to DR Congo would also be among the occupants of the target vehicle. There is no information as to whether he was shot.