Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo was eliminated on Monday when a UN convoy came under attack in the struggling 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 sightseeing tour to the region, a senior diplomatic source stated in Kinshasa.
Two other people likewise died, Significant Guillaume Djike, the army’s spokesman in North Kivu province informed AFP.
Other sources stated those two casualties were the envoy’s chauffeur and bodyguard, and the WFP said “a variety of other guests” were hurt.
Attanasio’s death was validated by the Italy’s foreign ministry.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi offered his “deepest acknowledgements”, while President Sergio Mattarella condemned the “afraid attack”.
” The Italian republic is in grieving for these servants of the state who lost their lives,” Mattarella stated in a statement.
And Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio revealed his “great dismay and immense grief”, breaking off from a meeting in Brussels with EU equivalents to make an early return to Rome.
” The circumstances of this brutal attack are not yet understood and no effort will be spared to shed light on what happened,” Di Maio stated, commemorating the victims as “two servants of the state”.
Attanasio, 43, had been representing Italy in Kinshasa given that 2017, the foreign ministry said. He joined the diplomatic service in 2003 and served formerly in Switzerland, Morocco and Nigeria.
The envoy suffered “gunshot injuries to the abdomen” and was required to a medical facility in Goma in critical condition, the diplomat in Kinshasa stated.
The DRC’s army stated its troops were searching the location for the assaulters.
Map of DR Congo finding Goma AFP/ PERSONNEL
A vast nation the size of continental western Europe, the DRC is facing various disputes, especially in its remote, mineral-rich east.
Scores of militias roam the 4 eastern provinces, a lot of them a legacy of wars in the 1990s that absorbed nations around central-southern Africa and declared millions of lives.
According to the Italian foreign ministry, the ambassador and the cop were with a convoy of MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping objective in Congo.
But WFP verified that Attanasio was on a fact-finding mission with the UN’s food agency.
” The delegation was travelling from Goma to visit a WFP school feeding program in Rutshuru when the event took place,” it said in a statement.
” The attack … took place on a road that had previously been cleared for travel without security escorts,” it stated.
Monday’s attack took place north of Goma, in Nyiaragongo Area.
Armed groups in the area include a Rwandan Hutu militia called the FDLR, in addition to the M23, likewise referred to as the Congolese Revolutionary Army.
The region includes the UNESCO-listed Virunga National Forest, a vast wildlife reserve that is home to a quarter of the world’s population of critically endangered mountain gorillas.
More than 200 of the park’s rangers have actually been eliminated in attacks extending back more than a years.
The UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR, said recently that more than 2,000 civilians were eliminated in North and South Kivu and Ituri province last year.
Attanasio is the second European ambassador to have actually been eliminated while serving in the DRC.
In January 1993, French ambassador Philippe Bernard was killed throughout riots in Kinshasa sparked by troops opposing dictator Mobutu Sese Seke.