Italy's ambassador to DR Congo killed in attack on UN convoy

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Published: February 22,2021 06:21 PM
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February 22, 2021: Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Luca Attanasio, was killed on Monday travelling with a UN convoy in eastern DRC, the foreign ministry in Rome said.

February 22, 2021: Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Luca Attanasio, was killed on Monday travelling with a UN convoy in eastern DRC, the foreign ministry in Rome said.



 “It is with deep sadness that the Foreign Ministry confirms the death, today in Goma, of the Italian ambassador,” the ministry said, adding that an Italian policeman also died.



The ambush on the World Food Programme convoy that killed Ambassador Luca Attanasio and the officer occurred near Goma, Congo’s eastern regional capital in the territory of Nyrangongo, in North Kivu, Congolese civilians said.



It is the same area, known as the “three antennas,” where two Britons were kidnapped by unidentified armed men in 2018, said Mambo Kaway, president of a local civil society group in the Nyrangongo territory.



 “There were five people aboard the vehicle, including the Italian ambassador,” Kaway said. “The driver died after being shot with several bullets, and others were wounded,” he said.



 “The situation is very tense," he added.



The wounded were taken to a nearby U.N. hospital.



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.



 “The news (is) extremely worrying, and we are following the situation closely with the EU delegation" in Congo, EU Commission spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said. She provided no details about those killed or injured.



Congo’s east is home to myriad rebel groups all vying for control of the mineral-rich land.



More than 2,000 civilians were killed last year in eastern Congo in violence by armed groups whose brutal attacks using machetes and heavy weapons have also displaced millions in what the United Nations calls one of the worst humanitarian crises as attacks ramp up this year.



There are 5.2 million people displaced in the Central African nation, according to the United Nations Children’s Agency, which said in a report Friday that this represents more displaced than in any other country except Syria. In the past year alone, 50% have been displaced, it said.



 


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