The Italian ambassador to Congo Luca Attanasio was killed on Monday in an attack on his convoy. His driver and an Italian bodyguard were also killed. The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says in a statement that it does not yet know who is behind the attack, but that it will do everything to find out what exactly happened.
Attanasio, 43, traveled in a convoy from the United Nations World Food Program through the east of the country. They were attacked near Goma, on the border with Rwanda. According to Reuters news agency, the attackers may have tried to kidnap the ambassador. In addition to the fatalities, an unknown number of people were also injured. They have been taken to a hospital in the area.
Governor Carly Nzanzu Kasivita tells Reuters news agency that the attackers have stopped the convoy with warning shots. The driver was killed and the ambassador and his bodyguard led into the forest. When park rangers opened fire on them, the attackers killed the two Italians.
In a statement, the World Food Program says it is making every effort to find out more about the incident with local authorities. The Congolese Foreign Minister, Marie Ntumba Nzeza, also says that she will do everything in his power to get hold of the culprits of this “horrible murder”.
It happened on a road that shouldn’t pose any safety concerns, says the World Food Program. The region in Virunga National Park is known for being restless. Several armed groups are active. In 2018, two British tourists were briefly kidnapped, after which the park remained closed for months. Park rangers are regularly attacked, six rangers were killed in January.
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