Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio killed in Congo throughout assault on UN meals assist convoy
Attanasio, 43, had been representing Italy in Kinshasa since 2017. He joined the diplomatic service in 2003 and served beforehand in Switzerland, Morocco and Nigeria
Goma: Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo was killed on Monday when a UN convoy got here beneath assault within the troubled east, DRC sources and the federal government in Rome mentioned.
Luca Attanasio died of his wounds after a World Meals Programme (WFP) convoy got here beneath hearth close to Goma whereas he was on a area journey to the area, a senior diplomatic supply mentioned in Kinshasa. Two different folks additionally died, Main Guillaume Djike, the military’s spokesman in North Kivu province informed AFP.
Different sources mentioned these two fatalities have been the envoy’s driver and bodyguard, and the WFP mentioned “a variety of different passengers” have been injured. Attanasio’s loss of life was confirmed by the Italy’s international ministry.
Italian prime minister Mario Draghi provided his “deepest condolences”, whereas President Sergio Mattarella condemned the “cowardly assault”.
“The Italian republic is in mourning for these servants of the State who misplaced their lives,” Mattarella mentioned in an announcement. And International Minister Luigi Di Maio expressed his “nice dismay and immense sorrow”, breaking off from a gathering in Brussels with EU counterparts to make an early return to Rome.
“The circumstances of this brutal assault are usually not but recognized and no effort will likely be spared to make clear what occurred,” Di Maio mentioned, paying tribute to the victims as “two servants of the State”.
Attanasio, 43, had been representing Italy in Kinshasa since 2017, the international ministry mentioned. He joined the diplomatic service in 2003 and served beforehand in Switzerland, Morocco and Nigeria.
The envoy suffered “gunshot wounds to the stomach” and was taken to a hospital in Goma in crucial situation, the diplomat in Kinshasa mentioned. The DRC’s military mentioned its troops have been looking the world for the assailants.
An enormous nation the scale of continental western Europe, the DRC is grappling with quite a few conflicts, particularly in its distant, mineral-rich east.
Scores of militias roam the 4 japanese provinces, lots of them a legacy of wars within the Nineteen Nineties that sucked in international locations round central-southern Africa and claimed tens of millions of lives.
In response to the Italian international ministry, the ambassador and the policeman have been with a convoy of MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo.
However WFP confirmed that Attanasio was on a fact-finding mission with the UN’s meals company. “The delegation was travelling from Goma to go to a WFP college feeding programme in Rutshuru when the incident happened,” it mentioned in an announcement.
“The assault… occurred on a highway that had beforehand been cleared for journey with out safety escorts,” it mentioned.
Monday’s assault occurred north of Goma, in Nyiaragongo Territory.
Armed teams within the space embody a Rwandan Hutu militia known as the FDLR, in addition to the M23, also called the Congolese Revolutionary Military. The area consists of the UNESCO-listed Virunga Nationwide Park, an enormous wildlife reserve that’s house to 1 / 4 of the world’s inhabitants of critically endangered mountain gorillas.
Greater than 200 of the park’s rangers have been killed in assaults stretching again greater than a decade. The UN’s refugee company, the UNHCR, mentioned final week that greater than 2,000 civilians have been killed in North and South Kivu and Ituri province final yr.
Attanasio is the second European ambassador to have been killed whereas serving within the DRC. In January 1993, French ambassador Philippe Bernard was killed throughout riots in Kinshasa sparked by troops opposing dictator Mobutu Sese Seke.
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