Italy’s ambassador to Congo killed in attack on UN convoy

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The Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an Italian carabineri police officer, and their Congolese driver were killed in a shooting on Monday while travelling in the DRC in a UN convoy, the Italian Foreign Ministry said, according to Euronews.

In a brief statement, the ministry said Luca Attanasio and the officer, named as Vittorio Iacovacci, were killed in Goma.

The convoy reportedly belonged to the UN's World Food Programme (WFP).

The ambush occurred as the convoy was travelling from Goma, Congo's eastern regional capital, to visit a World Food Programme (WFP) school project in Rutshuru, the UN agency said.

The WFP said the attack occurred on a road that had been cleared previously for travel without security escorts, and it was seeking more information from local officials on the attack.

The DRC's interior ministry accused Rwandan Hutu rebel group the FDLR of being behind the attack. In a statement it added that four people had been kidnapped, of whom one had since been found, according to Euronews.

The BBC says Italy's Ambassador to Congo, Luca Attanasio, 43, died in hospital on February 22.

Mr. Attanasio was reportedly a passenger in one of two vehicles travelling about 15 kilometers north of Goma when the attack happened on Monday morning.

The vehicles were “ambushed by a group of six attackers, who fired warning shots before taking all the passengers into the Virunga National Park,” the governor of North Kivu province, Carly Nzanzu, told the BBC.

Source: Asia-Plus