Friday February 26, 2021

Italian ambassador to DR Congo killed in attack

Published : 22 Feb 2021, 20:44

  DF News Desk

Italy's embassy to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo). Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy.

Italy's ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) Luca Attanasio was killed in an attack on his diplomatic convoy by unknown assailants, Italian officials said Monday, reported Xinhua.

"I received with dismay the news of the vile attack that struck an international convoy a few hours ago near the city of Goma (in the DRC), killing Ambassador Luca Attanasio, carabiniere (one of Italy's national police forces) Vittorio Iacovacci, and their driver," President Sergio Mattarella said in a statement.

He added that "the Italian Republic is in mourning for these civil servants who lost their lives."

"Two civil servants have been torn from us with violence... the circumstances of this brutal attack are still unclear and no effort will be spared to shed light on what happened," Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio wrote in a Facebook post.

News of the deadly attack sparked reactions from various leaders, including European Council President Charles Michel, who wrote on Twitter that he is "shocked by the attack on a convoy in the DRC and the lives lost, including those of the Italian ambassador and a military serviceman."

Earlier Monday, officials of the Virunga National Park in the east of DR Congo said that the Italian ambassador was killed during an attack on a World Food Program (WFP) convoy in the Park.

According to park officials, the ambassador's bodyguard, the driver and several others were also killed in the attack. Several other members of the convoy were seriously injured by gunshot wounds.

The attack was part of an attempt to kidnap UN personnel from the convoy, according to the same source.