DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), Luca Attanasio, 43, died in hospital on Monday. Attanasio was killed in an attack on a United Nations convoy in an area that is home to myriad rebel groups. According to the reports, the Italian ambassador was traveling from Goma to visit a school program in a village in eastern DR Congo.
Attanasio was traveling in one of two vehicles that were ambushed by a group of six attackers. The attackers had fired warning shots before taking hostage all passengers in the Virunga National Park. The ambassador was traveling in the east – the most unstable part of DR Congo. “That’s when a patrol of Virunga National Park rangers intervened and managed to free four people,” said Carly Nzanzu, the governor of North Kivu province.
Attanasio had joined the diplomatic service in 2003 and spent time in Morocco and Nigeria. In 2017, he was appointed as the Italian ambassador to DR Congo.
Before they could escape, the assailants managed to shoot the ambassador and also killed an Italian military police officer who was traveling with the envoy.
According to the officials, the attack is believed to have been an attempted kidnapping. Many local armed groups from Rwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic (CAR), and Uganda have captured the region over the last 25 years. Normally, aid convoys travelling in eastern DR Congo are heavily guarded by UN troops. Hence, the event has created a stir about the level of security that Attanasio’s convoy had.
The attack brought to light the fact that stability to the DR Congo region will happen only after the political issues are solved.
Due to the political tension, a civil war occurred between DR Congo and its neighboring countries. The ‘Great War of Africa ‘ occurred between 1994 and 2003 and took around five million lives.
DR Congo’s Foreign Minister, Marie Tumba Nzeza, said an investigation into the killings was underway and the DRC army has deployed troops to help search the area of the attack.