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Italian ambassador to Congo killed in attack on UN convoy



The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and local people said that the Italian ambassador to Congo, an Italian carabinieri police officer and their Congolese driver were killed in an attack on a UN convoy on Monday.

The United Nations agency said in a statement that the ambush occurred when a convoy set off from Goma, the capital of eastern Congo, to visit the WFP school feeding project in Rutshuru.

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The WFP said it was seeking information from local authorities because the ambush occurred on a road that had not previously been escorted.

Italian ambassador to Congo Luca Attanasio, Italian Carabinieri officer Vittorio Iacovacci and their Congolese driver were killed in an attack on a UN convoy on Monday. The convoy is home to countless rebel groups in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  (Comunita'di Sant'Egidio via AP)

Italian ambassador to Congo Luca Attanasio, Italian Carabinieri officer Vittorio Iacovacci and their Congolese driver were killed in an attack on a UN convoy on Monday. The convoy is home to countless rebel groups in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Comunita’di Sant’Egidio via AP)

Luca Attanasio, who served as Italy’s ambassador to the country since 2017, gendarmerie officer Vittorio Iacovacci and his driver were killed. WFP said that other members of the convoy were injured.

Carabinieri officer Vittorio Iacovacci was killed in an ambush on Monday along with the Italian ambassador to Congo Luca Atanasio.  (Italian AP Carabinieri Press Office, via AP)

Carabinieri officer Vittorio Iacovacci was killed in an ambush on Monday, along with the Italian ambassador to Congo Luca Atanasio. (Italian AP Carabinieri Press Office, via AP)

Mambo Kawi, chairman of the local civil society group, said that the attack occurred in the Nyiragongo area of ​​North Kivu, which is known as the “three antennas.” In 2018, two Britons were kidnapped by unidentified armed men.

Cavie said: “There were five people in the car, including the Italian ambassador.” He said: “The driver died after being hit by several bullets, and the others were injured.”

He said: “The situation is very tense.”

The injured were taken to a nearby United Nations hospital.

The Italian ambassador to the Congo was taken to the gate of the United Nations hospital.  (AP Photo/Justin Cabumba)

The Italian ambassador to the Congo was taken to the gate of the United Nations hospital. (AP Photo/Justin Cabumba)

The governor of North Kivu, Carly Nzanzu Kasivita, said the vehicles were taken hostage and escorted into the jungle. When locals saw them, they alerted the authorities.

He said that the Congolese army and the guards of the Virunga National Park carried out the rescue.

The governor said: “Exchange of fire. The attackers shot at the bodyguard and the ambassador.” He added that the ambassador later died of injuries.

According to personnel on the scene, the vehicle where the Italian ambassador to Congo was killed sits on a smashed window on Monday, February 22, 2021, in Nilagongo, North Kivu, Congo (AP Photo / Justin Kabumba)

According to personnel on the scene, the vehicle where the Italian ambassador to Congo was killed sits on a smashed window on Monday, February 22, 2021, in Nilagongo, North Kivu, Congo (AP Photo / Justin Kabumba)

Attanasio, a 43-year-old professional diplomat, left his wife and three young children.

The attack was located a few kilometers north of the regional capital, Goma, right next to the Virunga National Park. Last month, gunmen shot and killed at least six rangers in the Rutshuru area of ​​the park.

On Monday, February 22, 2021, UN peacekeepers guarded the area where the UN peacekeepers attacked the UN convoy and killed the Italian ambassador to the Congo in Nyiragongo, North Kivu, Congo.  (AP Photo/Justin Kabumba)

On Monday, February 22, 2021, UN peacekeepers guarded the area where the UN peacekeepers attacked the UN convoy and killed the Italian ambassador to the Congo in Nyiragongo, North Kivu, Congo. (AP Photo/Justin Kabumba)

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Marie Tumba Nzenza expressed condolences and assured the Italian government that the Congolese government will do everything possible to investigate and identify the root cause of the killing.

Last year, in eastern Congo, armed groups violently killed more than 2,000 civilians. These armed groups used machetes and heavy weapons to carry out brutal attacks, displacing millions of people. The United Nations called it the worst humanitarian attack this year. One of the crises.

The head of EU foreign policy, Josep Borrell, informed the EU foreign ministers of the incident at a meeting in Brussels and expressed condolences to Italy and the United Nations.

European Commission spokesperson Nabila Massrali (Nabila Massrali) said: “This news is extremely worrying, and we are closely monitoring the situation with the EU delegation.”

United Nations peacekeepers guarded the area where the United Nations convoy was attacked and killed the Italian ambassador to Congo.  (AP Photo/Justin Cabumba)

United Nations peacekeepers guarded the area where the United Nations convoy was attacked and killed the Italian ambassador to Congo. (AP Photo/Justin Cabumba)

Italian President Sergio Mattarella (Sergio Mattarella) and Prime Minister Mario Draghi (Mario Draghi) expressed their condolences to the families of the victims. The Foreign Secretary Luigi Di Maio vowed to determine who killed the “model” Italians because they were killed at work.

He said in a statement: “The circumstances of this brutal attack are still unclear, and no effort will be spared to explain what happened.”

Eastern Congo is home to numerous rebel groups, all vying for control of this mineral-rich land.

According to UNICEF, 5.2 million people have been displaced in the country of Central Africa. The organization said in a report on Friday that this is more than any other country except Syria. The report says that in the past year alone, 50% of people have been displaced.

In this picture in the video, UN peacekeepers guard the area where the UN convoy was attacked.  (AP Photo/Justin Cabumba)

In this picture in the video, UN peacekeepers guard the area where the UN convoy was attacked. (AP Photo/Justin Cabumba)

Before experiencing decades of corrupt dictatorship, one of the cruelest colonial rule in this country’s history was under the rule of Western Europe. Later, back-to-back civil war broke out in some neighboring countries. During the years of the UN mission, many insurgent organizations came and went, sometimes invading Goma, the capital of the eastern region where the ambassador is stationed.

In January 2019, the first peaceful and democratic transfer of Congo’s electricity supply since independence was after the election of President Felix Tsisekedi in 1960. He succeeded the strongman Joseph Kabila in a controversial election marked by mass fraud accusations.

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The United Nations peacekeeping mission, known by its acronym MONUSCO, has been working to reduce its force of at least 16,000 troops and hand over its security tasks to the Congolese authorities.

After holding diplomatic positions in Switzerland, Morocco and Nigeria, Atanasio was appointed as the ambassador of the Italian Embassy in Kinshasa in September 2017.

At a ceremony in a church in southern Italy, Atanasio won the Nasiri International Peace Prize in October.

La Repubblica stated in its “Daily Economic News” every day that Atanasio was “committed to his commitment to maintaining peace among people” and “in order to achieve important humanitarian projects, for altruism, dedication and hardship. People have made contributions with outstanding service spirit.” The narrative of the ceremony.

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La Repubblica quoted Attanasio as saying: “Everything we take for granted in Italy is not in the Congo. Unfortunately, there are many problems to be solved there.” Attanasio said that the role of the ambassador “is to approach the Italians first, but We must also contribute to the realization of peace.” There are about 1,000 Italians in Congo.


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