Italian ambassador is killed in attack on UN convoy in DR Congo
- Luca Attanasio died alongside an Italian soldier and another man on Monday
- The 44-year-old was in a UN convoy that was attacked by gunmen near the border city of Goma
- The military has said it is hunting for those responsible
The Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been killed in an attack on a UN convoy in the country.
Luca Attanasio, 44, was killed along with an Italian soldier and a second man – believed to be his driver – in the ambush near Goma on Monday.
Attanasio, who was married, suffered ‘gunshot wounds to the abdomen’ and was taken to hospital in critical condition.
He later died of his wounds at the Level III Indian Field Hospital.
Luca Attanasio (left), the Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been killed during an attack on a UN convoy
The diplomat had been based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the last three years, Italian officials said. The officer who died alongside him was aged 30.
Attanasio, who was typically based in the capital Kinshasa, had been taking part in a World Food Programme visit to the country’s troubled east when he was attacked.
No information on the attackers was given, with the military saying only that it is hunting for those responsible.
A spokesman for the Italian foreign ministry said: ‘It is with deep sorrow that the Farnesina confirms the death, today in Goma, of the Ambassador of Italy to the Democratic Republic of Congo Luca Attanasio and of a soldier from the Carabinieri.’
Attanasio (left) had been based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the last three years, Italian officials said
Monday’s attack occurred north of Goma – a region that includes the UNESCO-listed Virunga National Park, which has also been troubled by violence
A vast country the size of continental western Europe, the DRC is grappling with numerous conflicts, especially in its remote, mineral-rich east.
Scores of militias roam the four eastern provinces. Many are a legacy of wars in the 1990s that sucked in countries around central-southern Africa and claimed millions of lives.
Monday’s attack occurred north of Goma – a region that includes the UNESCO-listed Virunga National Park, which has also been troubled by violence.
The UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR, said last week that more than 2,000 civilians were killed in North and South Kivu and Ituri last year.
More to follow…