Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Italian ambassador in DRC killed in armed attack in eastern part of the country


The Italian diplomat was traveling with a United Nations convoy. A soldier also lost his life.

The Italian Ambassador to Kinshasa was shot dead on Monday February 22 in an armed attack targeting a World Food Program (WFP) convoy during a visit near Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo according to diplomatic sources. Information confirmed in the wake of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Seriously “gunshot wound in the abdomenAmbassador Luca Attanasiodied of his injuriesA senior diplomatic source said in Kinshasa. Two other people were also killed during the attack, said Major Guillaume Djike, spokesman for the army in the North Kivu region, without specifying the identity of the victims. The two other victims would be the driver and the bodyguard of the ambassador, according to several sources.

In the aftermath, the Italian Foreign Ministry confirmed the death of Luca Attanasio, stating that he was traveling with a United Nations convoy to the east of the country. «It is with deep sadness that the Foreign Ministry confirms the death, today in Goma, of the Italian Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Luca Attanasio, and of a soldier.», Indicates a press release. They were traveling by car “in a Monusco convoy“The Blue Helmets mission, which has been present in the DRC for twenty years, also states the ministry’s statement. Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, who was in Brussels for a meeting with his European counterparts, announced his early return to Rome. The country’s president, meanwhile, denounced a “cowardly attack».

«The Congolese Armed Forces comb to find out who the attackers are», Indicated the Congolese army. The attack on this WFP convoy took place in the north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, which has been plagued by violence from armed groups for more than 25 years. This region is home to the Virunga National Park, a natural, touristic and threatened gem, which is also the theater of conflicts in this region of North Kivu, where dozens of armed groups compete for control of the wealth of the soil and the subsoil. . The park is guarded by 689 armed rangers, at least 200 of whom have been killed in the line of duty, according to its officials.

Luca Attanasio, 43, had been ambassador to the DRC since October 2019, after arriving in the country two years earlier as head of mission, according to his official biography. He entered a diplomatic career at the end of 2003, after studying business at the Luigi Bocconi University of Milan. He started in the Directorate of Economic Affairs, before working on African issues and international cooperation. Abroad, he was first appointed head of the economic and commercial section at the Bern embassy (2006-2010), then consul general in Casablanca, Morocco (2010-2013). After a stint in Rome, he also became a counselor at the Italian Embassy in Nigeria in 2015.



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