Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio killed in DR Congo during kidnapping attempt

WION Web Team
NEW DELHIUpdated: Feb 22, 2021, 05:42 PM IST
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Italy's envoy in DR Congo Luca Attanasio killed during attack in Virunga park. (Picture courtesy: The Chronicles) Photograph:(Twitter)

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The envoy, Luca Attanasio, ‘died of his wounds’ after a convoy of the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) came under fire near Goma, the source said in Kinshasa.

The Italian ambassador to Congo and an Italian Carabinieri police officer were killed Monday while travelling in Congo in a UN convoy, the Foreign Ministry said.

In a brief statement, the ministry said Luca Attanasio and the officer were killed in Goma. They were travelling in a convoy of the UN stabilization mission in Congo.

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

The envoy, Luca Attanasio, "died of his wounds" after a convoy of the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) came under fire near Goma, the source said in Kinshasa.

Two other people also died in the attack, Major Guillaume Djike, the army's spokesman in North Kivu province said, without identifying the casualties.

In January 2019, Congo experienced its first peaceful democratic transfer of power since independence in 1960 following the election of President Felix Tshisekedi.

He succeeded strongman Joseph Kabila in a disputed election marked by allegations of large-scale fraud and suspicions of a backroom deal by Kabila to install Tshisekedi over an opposition candidate who, according to leaked electoral data, was the real winner.

The resource-rich nation the size of Western Europe suffered through one of the most brutal colonial reigns ever known before undergoing decades of corrupt dictatorship.

Back-to-back civil wars later drew in a number of neighbouring countries. And many rebel groups have come and gone during the UN Mission's years of operation, at times invading the eastern regional capital, Goma, where the ambassador was killed.

The UN Peacekeeping mission, known by its acronym MONUSCO, has been working to draw down its 15,000-troop presence and transfer its security work to Congolese authorities.

(With inputs from agencies)