Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo was killed on Monday when a UN convoy came under attack in the troubled east, DRC sources and the government in Rome said.
Luca Attanasio died of his wounds after a World Food Programme (WFP) convoy came under fire near Goma while he was on a field trip to the region, a senior diplomatic source said in Kinshasa.
Two other people also died, Major Guillaume Djike, the army’s spokesman in North Kivu province told AFP.
Other sources said those two fatalities were the envoy’s driver and bodyguard, and the WFP said “a number of other passengers” were injured. Attanasio’s death was confirmed by the Italy’s foreign ministry.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi offered his “deepest condolences”, while President Sergio Mattarella condemned the “cowardly attack”.
“The Italian republic is in mourning for these servants of the state who lost their lives,” Mattarella said in a statement.
And Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio expressed his “great dismay and immense sorrow”, breaking off from a meeting in Brussels with EU counterparts to make an early return to Rome.
“The circumstances of this brutal attack are not yet known and no effort will be spared to shed light on what happened,” Di Maio said, paying tribute to the victims as “two servants of the state”.
Attanasio, 43, had been representing Italy in Kinshasa since 2017, the foreign ministry said. He joined the diplomatic service in 2003 and served previously in Switzerland, Morocco and Nigeria. —APP