Italian ambassador killed in DR Congo attack

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GBNEWS24 DESK//

The Italian ambassador to Congo, an Italian carabineri police officer and their Congolese driver were killed Monday in an attack on a UN convoy in an area that is home to myriad rebel groups, the Foreign Ministry and local people said.
The ambush occurred as the convoy was travelling from Goma, Congo’s eastern regional capital, to visit a World Food Program school feeding project in Rutshuru, the U.N. agency said in a statement.

WFP said it was seeking information from local authorities, as the ambush occurred on a road that had previously been cleared for travel without security escorts.

Ambassador Luca Attanasio, Italy’s ambassador to the country since 2017, carabinieri officer Vittorio Iacovacci and their driver were killed. Other members of the convoy were injured, WFP said.

The attack occurred in the territory of Nyiragongo, in North Kivu, 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.

“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.

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.

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.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Premier Mario Draghi expressed their condolences to the families of the victims. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio vowed to ascertain who was responsible for killing “exemplary” Italians as they did their jobs.

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