Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Italian ambassador dies after attack on UN convoy in eastern Italy


(Ecofin Agency) – For the past ten years, the security situation in eastern DRC has remained worrying. No less than forty armed groups are rife in the region, which is just as dangerous for the populations as it is for the authorities..

Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Luca Attanasio (pictured), 43, an Italian policeman of his escort (Vittorio Iacovacci, 30) and his driver were killed on Monday, February 22 in an attack on the car in which they were in the eastern province of North Kivu in the east of the country.

According to the Italian Foreign Ministry, the ambassador’s car was part of a convoy of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO).

From the Italian site The Republic, the attack took place around 10 a.m. near the town of Kanyamahoro where numerous armed groups are operating in the Virunga mountain region, between the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda.

The attack appears to have been part of an attempt to kidnap UN personnel, the site maintains. The Ambassador traveled in a convoy formed of two World Food Program (WFP) vehicles which also included the head of the EU delegation. On board there were a total of 7 people.

Hearing the gunshots, rangers in Virunga Park immediately launched an operation to release him, but when he was recovered the ambassador was dead. His body was taken to hospital in Goma.

“The Italian Republic is in mourning for these servants of the State who lost their lives in the performance of their professional duties”, said Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

Rangers in Virunga Park, famous for its mountain gorillas, have previously been the target of several armed attacks in the region. Six of them were also killed in an ambush in January 2021.

Ambassador Luca Attanasio had been stationed in Kinshasa since 2017. He previously served in Switzerland, Morocco and Nigeria.

No armed group operating in eastern DRC has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Borgia Kobri





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