Italian ambassador to Congo dies after attack on UN convoy

2021-02-22 17:43:00
Italian ambassador to Congo dies after attack on UN convoy

Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an Italian policeman, and their Congolese driver were killed in an ambush on a United Nations convoy in eastern DRC on Monday.

According to Italy’s foreign ministry, Ambassador Luca Attanasio and the others were part of a convoy of MONUSCO, the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in Dr Congo.

Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio expressed his “great dismay and immense sorrow” over the deadly attack and broke off from a meeting in Brussels with EU counterparts to make an early return to Rome.

“The circumstances of this brutal attack are not yet known and no effort will be spared to shed light on what happened,” Di Maio said, paying tribute to the victims.

The ambush occurred as the convoy was travelling from Goma, Congo’s eastern regional capital, to visit a World Food Program (WFP) school project in Rutshuru, the UN agency said in a statement.

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.

Attanasio, 43, represented Italy in Kinshasa since 2017. He joined the diplomatic service in 2003 and served previously in Switzerland, Morocco and Nigeria.

No group has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack so far.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella condemned the “cowardly attack”.

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