Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Italian ambassador dies in attack in Democratic Republic of Congo


Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio was shot dead in an attack on Monday on a World Food Program (WFP) convoy during a visit to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ambassador Luca Attanasio was “shot in the abdomen” and transported “in critical condition” to a hospital in Goma, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. According to a AFP diplomatic source, the Italian politician “died as a result of his injuries”.

According to sources in the region’s army, two other people also died in this attack, which several sources said was the ambassador’s driver and bodyguard, although this information has not been confirmed.

The diplomat’s death has already been confirmed by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Luca Attanasio, has served as ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo since early 2018.

The attack on the WFP convoy took place in the provincial capital of North Kivu, which has been plagued by violence by armed groups for more than 25 years. The Congolese army said, however, that “the Congolese Armed Forces are trying to find out who the aggressors are”.

This region, which hosts the Virunga National Park, a natural, touristic jewel in danger of extinction, is also the scene of conflict in North Kivu, where dozens of armed groups are fighting to control the wealth of the soil and subsoil.

Created in 1925, Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It extends over 7,769 km2, from Goma to the territory of Beni, between mountains and forests.

The park is guarded by 689 armed rangers, of which at least 200 were killed in the line of duty, according to park officials.





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