The Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Luca Attanasio, 43, was killed on Tuesday along with his bodyguard, Carabinier Vittorio Iacovazzi (30), in an attack on a United Nations convoy near the city of Goma, in Kanyamahoro territory, in the eastern part of the country. The Congolese driver Mustapha Milambo also died. They were part of a convoy of the World Food Program, within the UN Mission for stabilization in the DRC (MONUSCO). Local police sources explained that Ambassador Attanasio and the carabinero were captured and taken to a forest after the commando killed their driver. The convoy was attacked by at least six people.

When the police arrived, coming from a barracks a few hundred meters away, a shootout began in which the two hostages were killed. According to intelligence sources cited by the Italian agency ‘Adnkronos’, the attack was carried out by the Hutu rebels of the Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, who cross the border to steal, kidnap, and murder. It is the main group of Rwandan rebels adhering to the “Hutu Power” doctrine, which operates in the eastern part of the country. In that territory, in Virunga, on the border between Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda, there are several armed groups. They turn their attention to the guards in Virunga National Park, famous because about a third of the world’s mountain gorillas live here.

The Italian envoy to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Luca Attanasio, was killed today in an equipped assault against a UN guard in that country, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced. “With profound lament, the Farnesina (Foreign Ministry) affirms the demise, today in Goma, of the Italian representative to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Luca Attanasio, and of a cop, read an articulation. The envoy and the carabinero were going on board an escort of the mission of the United Nations adjustment association in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), as per similar sources.

As per Reuters, the third individual to have passed on is the Congolese driver. The escort was assaulted in a capturing endeavor close to the city of Kanyamahoro, around 25 kilometers north of the capital Goma area, as per a representative for Virunga National Park. Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio communicated “gigantic distress” after hearing the news while he was at a gathering of European Union Foreign Ministers in Brussels. “I have learned with extraordinary dismay and monstrous torment of the demise today of our diplomat to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a cop. Two state workers who have been fiercely killed in the line of obligation,” said the head of Italian discretion in a note.

Di Maio added that “the conditions of this merciless assault are not yet known and no exertion will be saved to explain what occurred. Torment and misery over the demise of Ambassador Luca Attanasio and the cop in an outfitted assault on the guard of the global mission of the United Nations World Food Program. Fortitude and closeness with the groups of the people in question,” he said, as far as it matters for him, the leader of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, Piero Fassino. The upper east of the DRC has been buried in a long clash for quite a long time filled by many public and unfamiliar radical equipped gatherings, despite the presence of the Congolese Army and the powers of the United Nations Mission, which has more than 15,000 soldiers sent in the country.

The convoy, made up of seven people in three jeep vehicles, was attacked at nine in the morning, local Congo time (ten Spanish peninsular times). They were heading to Goma to visit the World Food Program Rutshuru’s School Food Distribution Program. This was made known by the UN agency, which specifies: “Previously, it had been authorized to travel on that road without an escort because it was considered safe.” Indeed, in the photographs, it can be seen that the jeeps used were not armored. But some media indicate that it is an area of the country considered high risk by the rebels of the Forces for the liberation of Rwanda.

The MONUSCO mission of the UN for the maintenance of peace in the Congo began in 2010 and is made up of more than 12,000 soldiers from about twenty countries (most from India and Pakistan). Since the beginning of the mission, 93 of its members have been assassinated, which shows the dangerousness of the territory in which it is called to act. The Rome prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into the kidnapping of people for terrorist purposes. The magistrates, in charge of crimes committed abroad with Italian victims, delegated the investigation to the Carabinieri of the Special Operations Group, which will arrive this Tuesday in Kinshasa, the country’s capital.

A country in mourning

The attack caused consternation in Italy. The President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, sent a message of condolences to the families of the victims, highlighting that the country is in mourning. The Italian Republic is in mourning for these State servants who lost their lives in the fulfillment of their professional duties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In deploring this vile act of violence, all Italians join in the pain of the families of the victims, to whom I wish to send my deepest condolences and greatest solidarity. Likewise, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has expressed his deep regret and that of his government. Meanwhile, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, who was in Brussels, immediately returned to Rome. The circumstances of this brutal attack are not yet known and no effort will be spared to clarify what happened.