GOMA, 22 February 2021 – The Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), was killed Monday in an attack on a joint convoy with the UN in eastern DR Congo.
Ambassador Luca Attanasio, 43, was killed alongside his bodyguard, 30-year-old Vittorio Iacovacci, and a Congolese driver working for the UN World Food Program, whose name has not been released.
A number of passengers were injured in the attack within the Virunga National Park.
DR Congo, Italy and the United Nations confirmed the attack and killings Monday.
Observers say it was an attempt to abduct the envoy near the town of Kanyamahoro, about 15 miles north of the eastern regional capital of Goma.
The governor of North Kivu Province, Carly Nzanzu Kasivitas aid the attackers fired several warning shots to force thc convoy to stop.
The assailants killed the driver, abducted and were leading the Italian envoy and his body into the National Park when park rangers opened fire.
The assailants killed the envoy and the bodyguard, Nzanzu explained.
Several armed groups operate in the Virunga Park close to DR Congo’s border with Rwanda and Uganda.
Park rangers have been attacked repeatedly, including last month when six of them were killed.
A spokesperson for the park told reporters Monday that no organization has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.