Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo was killed on Monday during a fact-finding mission to the country’s troubled east.
The envoy, Luca Attanasio, “died of his wounds” after a convoy of the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) came under fire near Goma, the source said in Kinshasa.
Two other people also died in the attack, Major Guillaume Djike, the army’s spokesman in North Kivu province confirmed without identifying the casualties
It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
“It is with deep sorrow that the Foreign Ministry confirms the death today in Goma of the Italian Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Luca Attanasio, and policemen from the Carabinieri,” the foreign ministry statement said.
“The ambassador and the soldier were travelling in a car in a convoy of MONUSCO, the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” the statement adds
According to the ministry website, Attanasio had been Italy’s head of mission in Kinshasa since 2017 and was made ambassador in 2019.
Dozens of armed groups operate in and around Virunga, which lies along Congo’s borders with Rwanda and Uganda.
Park rangers have been repeatedly attacked, including six who were killed in an ambush last month