Italian Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Luca Attanassio, was killed Monday morning by his bodyguard and a World Food Program (WFP) driver during an attack by gunmen on a UN agency convoy about ten kilometers north of the city. Goma, in the province of North Kivu.
as reported from Kinshasa, Pascal Mulegwa
Italian Ambassador to Kinshasa Luca Attanasio was shot dead in an armed attack targeting a World Food Program (WFP) convoy during a visit near Goma in the east Democratic Republic of the Congo, learned Journalist from the governor of North Kivu.
Carly Nzanzu Kasivita, Governor of North Kivu at the death of the Italian Ambassador
The identity of the attackers has not yet been revealed. According to a source, the attack took place around noon. 10:15, about ten kilometers north of Goma, at a place called “3 antennas”, reports Pierre Firtion, journalist in Journalist African service. This road section between Goma and Virunga Park is known to be a haven for armed groups, including the Rwandan FDLR rebels, Mai-Mai militias or even criminal gangs living off kidnappings.
“A cowardly attack”
The PAM-stamped Jeep that the ambassador was in was targeted by a group of attackers. This group allegedly tried to remove the seven passengers from the vehicle. Alarmed guards from the ICCN, the Congolese Institute for Conservation of Nature nearby, intervened, but the driver of the vehicle and the bodyguard from the ambassador were shot dead.
According to the governor of North Kivu province, Luca Attanasio himself died moments later in hospital after serious gunshot wounds to the abdomen. The Italian ambassador was in Rutshuru on Monday to observe the activities of the World Food Program on the ground.
“It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today confirms that the Italian Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Luca Attanasio, and a military man, died in Goma,” he said. The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, who was in Brussels for a meeting with his European counterparts, announced that he would return to Rome early. For his part, the Italian president condemned “a cowardly attack.”
Luca Attanasio had been ambassador to the DRC since October 2019 after arriving in the country two years earlier as mission chief according to his official biography.