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Italian ambassador to DR Congo dies after UN convoy attacked

Al Jazeera logo Al Jazeera 2/22/2021 Al Jazeera English

The Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a military policeman travelling with him have been killed in an attack on a United Nations convoy in eastern DRC, the Italian foreign ministry said in a statement.

The convoy was attacked on Monday near the town of Kanyamahoro at approximately 10:15am (08:15 GMT) as part of a kidnap attempt, the Virunga National Park told Reuters.

The Italian ambassador, Luca Attanasio, and a military policeman travelling with him were killed, the Italian foreign ministry said in a statement.

The park had said earlier that two people in the convoy had been killed and the ambassador wounded. The third person killed was a driver, diplomatic sources said.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

“It is with deep sorrow that the Foreign Ministry confirms the death today in Goma of the Italian Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Luca Attanasio, and of a policemen from the Carabinieri,” the foreign ministry statement said.

“The ambassador and the soldier were travelling in a car in a convoy of MONUSCO, the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” it said.

According to the ministry website, Attanasio had been Italy’s head of mission in Kinshasa since 2017 and was made ambassador in 2019.

Dozens of armed groups operate in and around Virunga, which lies along Congo’s borders with Rwanda and Uganda.

Park rangers have been repeatedly attacked, including six who were killed in an ambush last month.

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