The Italian Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was killed on Monday. In a statement, WFP said that when the incident occurred, its delegation was traveling to Goma to visit a school feeding program in Rutshuru.
The institution also says it is working with national authorities to determine the details of the attack, which occurred on a road that had previously been authorized to travel without a security escort. On the spot, the local authorities deplore this tragedy.
A career as a diplomat
Luca Attanasio, 43, had been Ambassador to the DRC since October 2019, after arriving in the country two years earlier as Head of Mission. He began his 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.
He was also 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.
An unstable region
Luca Attanasio was on a field visit with the World Food Program (WFP) in the territory of Nyiaragongo, north of Goma, capital of the province of North Kivu. A region plagued by violence from dozens of armed groups for more than 25 years.
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Near the scene of the tragedy are the strongholds of the Rwandan Hutu rebellion FDLR and the Congolese Hutu militias of Nyatura. Congolese M-23 rebels are also located in the area according to an expert from the Kivu Security Barometer (KST). This region is home to the Virunga National Park, of which at least 200 rangers have also been victims of ambushes by armed groups in the course of their duties in recent years.
Luca Attanasio is the second European ambassador in office shot dead in the DRC, after the Frenchman Philipe Bernard, killed on January 28, 1993 during riots which led to looting in Kinshasa, under the reign of ex-president Mobutu.
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