Sunday, February 28, 2021

Italy confirms the killing of its ambassador in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in an armed attack


On Monday, the Italian ambassador to Kinshasa Luca Atanazio was killed during an armed attack on a convoy of the United Nations World Food Program, during a visit near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. And the army spokesman in North Kivu, Major Guillaume Dyke, confirmed that two other people were killed in the attack, without specifying their identities. The other two victims may have been the driver and the ambassador’s companion, according to several sources. “It is with deep sadness that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms that the Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Luca Atanazio, and a soldier were killed today in Goma,” the Italian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. A diplomatic source in Kinshasa stated that the ambassador “died of his wounds” after being shot. Luca Atanazio has been in office since the beginning of 2018. A diplomatic source told the French Press Agency that after “he was seriously injured in the abdomen”, the ambassador was evacuated to a hospital in Goma “in a critical condition”. The Congolese army declared that “the Congolese armed forces are combing (the area) to find out who are the perpetrators.” A local official said the attack was part of an attempt to kidnap United Nations employees. The attack took place on the WFP convoy in North Goma, the epicenter of North Kivu, which has been subjected to violent acts by armed groups for more than 25 years. This area includes the Virunga National Park, a threatened tourism nature reserve, and is also a testament to the conflicts in North Kivu, where armed groups fight over control of the earth’s resources. Virunga Park, which dates back to 1925, is the oldest in Africa and inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This reserve extends over 7769 square kilometers from Goma to Beni, between mountains and forests. The park is under surveillance by 689 armed guards, including 200 who were killed in the course of their duties, officials said.



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