Italian Ambassador Killed In Congo UN Convoy Kidnap Attack

Mr Attanasio

LAGOS FEBRUARY 22ND (NEWSRANGERS)-The Italian ambassador to Democratic Republic of Congo was killed in a botched kidnapping on Monday in an attack on a United Nations convoy in the east of the country.

Italy’s Foreign Ministry confirmed in a statement that the Italian ambassador to Congo, Luca Attanasio, was killed.

The convoy was attacked near the town of Kanyamahoro at around 10:15 a.m. (0815 GMT) and was part of a kidnap attempt, the Virunga National Park told Reuters.

An Italian carabiniere officer also died in the ambush, who was identified as Vittorio Iacovacci.

The two men were travelling in a car as part of a MONUSCO convoy – the UN mission for the stabilisation of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mr Attanasio, was evacuated after park rangers intervened, the park said. However, he was declared dead shortly afterwards.

Many armed groups operate in and around Virunga, which lies along Congo’s borders with Rwanda and Uganda, and they have repeatedly attacked Virunga rangers.

Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s minister for foreign affairs, expressed “immense sorrow” over the incident.

“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”.

Mr Attanasio was 43 and had represented Italy in Kinshasa since 2017. He joined the diplomatic service in 2003 and served previously in Switzerland, Morocco and Nigeria.

Mr Di Maio was in Brussels for a Foreign Affairs Council meeting but was due to return to Italy early after news of the attack broke.

The DRC’s army said its troops were searching the area for the assailants.

A vast country the size of continental western Europe, the DRC is grappling with numerous conflicts, especially in its remote, mineral-rich east.

Scores of militias roam the four eastern provinces, many of them a legacy of wars in the 1990s that sucked in countries around central-southern Africa and claimed millions of lives.

Monday’s attack occurred north of Goma – a region that includes the UNESCO-listed Virunga National Park, which has also been troubled by violence.

The UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR, said last week that more than 2,000 civilians were killed in North and South Kivu and Ituri last year.

The Telegraph

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Posted by on Feb 22 2021. Filed under International, National. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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