Attack on UN Convoy Kills Italian Ambassador

Luca Attanasio, who had been ambassador to the country since 2017, was killed in Congo
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 22, 2021 9:30 AM CST
'Extremely Worrying' Attack in Congo Leaves 3 Dead
Flags at half-staff outside Limbiate's City Hall, near Milan, Italy, hometown of the late ambassador to Congo, Luca Attanasio, on Monday.   (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

The Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, an Italian carabinieri police officer, and their Congolese driver were killed Monday in an attack on a UN convoy, per Italy's Foreign Ministry and locals. The ambush occurred as the convoy was traveling from Goma, Congo's eastern regional capital, to visit a World Food Program school feeding project in Rutshuru, the UN agency said, per the AP. Luca Attanasio, Italy's ambassador to the country since 2017, officer Vittorio Iacovacci, and their driver were killed. Other members of the convoy were injured, WFP said. The attack occurred in the territory of Nyiragongo, in North Kivu, the same area (known as the "three antennas") where two Britons were kidnapped by unidentified armed men in 2018. "The news (is) extremely worrying," an EU Commission spokeswoman said.

WFP said it was seeking information from local authorities, as the ambush occurred on a road that had previously been cleared for travel without security escorts. "There were five people aboard the vehicle, including the Italian ambassador," Kaway said, who called the situation "very tense." "The driver died after being shot with several bullets, and others were wounded." The injured were taken to a nearby UN hospital. Attanasio later died from his injuries, per North Kivu Gov. Carly Nzanzu Kasivita, who said the vehicles were taken hostage and escorted into the bush, and that when local people saw them, they alerted the authorities. The Congolese army and park guards for Virunga National Park came to the rescue, he said. Attanasio, a career diplomat in his mid-40s, leaves behind a wife and three young children.

(Read more Democratic Republic of Congo stories.)

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