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Italian ambassador died after attack on UN convoy in Congo

Italian ambassador died after attack on UN convoy in Congo
23.02.2021 11:21
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The Italian ambassador to Congo, an Italian Carabinieri police officer and their Congolese driver were killed Monday when gunmen attacked a U.N. convoy travelling to a school in eastern Congo, the Italian Foreign Ministry and residents said.

Luca Attanasio, serving at the Italian embassy in the country since 2017, Carabinieri officer Vittorio Iacovacci and their driver Moustapha Milambo were killed, officials said. Other members of the convoy were wounded and taken to a hospital, the World Food Program said.

Eastern Congo is home to myriad rebel groups all vying for control of the mineral-rich Central African nation that is the size of Western Europe.

The attack, about 25 kilometres north of Goma, was right next to Virunga National Park. North Kivu Gov. Carly Nzanzu Kasivita said the U.N. vehicles were hijacked by the attackers and taken into the bush. 

The attack occurred in the same area where two Britons were kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in 2018, said Mambo Kaway, head of a local civil society group.

“The situation is very tense,” he added.

Last October, he was awarded the Nassiriya International Prize for Peace in a ceremony held in a church in southern Italy. Attanasio was cited for “having contributed to the realization of important humanitarian projects, distinguishing himself for altruism, dedication and the spirit of service for people in difficulty,” the newspaper reported.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission has been working toward drawing down its more than 17,000-troop presence in the country and transfer its security work to Congolese authorities.