The Italian ambassador to Kinshasa was shot dead on Monday in an attack that targeted a convoy of UN’s World Food Program during a visit near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the country’s Foreign Ministry has said.
“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 of a 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,” it said.
Ambassador Luca Attanasio “died immediately of his wounds,” a senior diplomatic source in Kinshasa told AFP.
The two were killed in the same area, known as the “three antennas,” where two Britons were kidnapped by unidentified armed men in 2018, according to Mambo Kaway, president of a local civil society group in the Nyrangongo territory.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell informed the bloc’s foreign ministers of the incident at a meeting he is chairing in Brussels and presented his condolences to Italy and the United Nations.
Attanasio had been Italy’s head of mission in Kinshasa since 2017 and was made ambassador in 2019.
Men armed with knives, machetes and pick-axes killed 10 people in an overnight attack on a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a witness and a local rights group said on Tuesday, Febraury 16, blaming a Islamist militia.
Killings by armed groups more than doubled last year, according to the United Nations.
UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said violence in the three eastern provinces of Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu has “become part of a systematic pattern to disrupt civilians’ lives, instil fear and create havoc”.