Italian Ambassador to Kinshasa Luca Attanasio was shot dead on Monday in an armed attack that targeted a World Food Program (WFP) convoy during a visit near Goma in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Ambassador Luca Attanasio “died immediately of his wounds,” a senior diplomatic source in Kinshasa told AFP. Two other people were also killed during the attack, for his part told AFP 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.
Luca Attanasio had been in office since early 2018.
Seriously “shot in the abdomen”, the ambassador was evacuated to a hospital in Goma “in critical condition”, the diplomatic source told AFP.
“The Congolese Armed Forces are combing to find out who the attackers are,” the Congolese army said.
An area plagued by violence
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. .
Created in 1925, Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This reserve extends over 7,769 km2, from Goma to the territory of Béni, between mountains and forests.
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.
Italy confirms the death of its diplomat
The Italian Foreign Ministry on Monday confirmed the death of its ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Luca Attanasio, who was traveling with a United Nations convoy in 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,” said a statement. . According to a diplomatic source in Kinshasa, the diplomat was shot dead.
They were traveling by car “in a Monusco convoy”, the mission of the peacekeepers which has been present in the DRC for twenty years, further specifies 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.
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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