Luca Atanasio, a 43-year-old career diplomat, is survived by his wife and their three young children
The Foreign Ministry and locals said that the Italian ambassador to the Congo, an Italian Carabinieri police officer and his Congo driver were killed on Monday in an attack on a UN convoy, home to numerous rebel groups.
The UN agency said in a statement that the ambush was taking place when the convoy was traveling from Goma, the eastern regional capital of Congo, to visit a World Food Program school feeding project in Rutshuru.
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The WFP said it was seeking information from local authorities, as the ambush took place on a road that had previously been cleared for travel without security escorts.
Since 2017, Italy’s ambassador to the country, Luca Atanasio, Carabanieri official Vittorio Iacovski and his driver were killed. Other members of the convoy were injured, the WFP said.
The attack took place in the area of Nyirgongo in North Kivu, in the same area known as the “Three Antennas” where two Britons were abducted by unidentified armed people in 2018, a local Mambo Kawe, president of the civil society group, said.
“Five people including the Italian ambassador were aboard the vehicle,” said Cave. “The driver died after being hit by multiple bullets, and others were injured,” he said.
“The situation is very tense,” he said.
The injured were taken to a nearby United Nations Hospital.
The Governor of North Kivu, Karli Nazunu Kasavita, said the vehicles were taken hostage and they ran into the bush and when locals saw them, they alerted the authorities.
He said that Congolese army and park guards came to the rescue for Virunga National Park.
“There was an exchange of fire. The attackers opened fire on the bodyguard and the ambassador,” the governor said, adding that the ambassador later died of his wounds.
Atanasio, a 43-year-old career diplomat, leaves a wife and three young children.
The attack was just a few kilometers north of the regional capital of Goma, next to Virunga National Park. Last month gunmen shot and killed at least six rangers in the Rutshuru area of the park.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mary Tumba Negenza expressed her condolences and promised the Italian government that the Congolese government will do all it can to investigate and find out who is behind the killings.
Last year, more than 2,000 civilians were killed in eastern Congo, a brutal attack by armed groups, including brutal attacks using machets and heavy weapons that displaced millions, the UN’s worst of this year. Told one of the humanitarian crises to ramp up.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borel told the Bloc’s foreign ministers about the incident that he is presiding in Brussels and expressed his condolences to Italy and the United Nations.
“The news (is) extremely worrying, and we are following the song of the situation with the EU delegation in Congo”, EU Commission spokeswoman Nabila Masraeli said.
Italy’s President Sergio Matarella and Premier Mario Puli expressed their condolences to the victims’ families. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Mao vowed to find out who was responsible for killing the “exemplary” Italians as they did their work.
“The circumstances of this brutal attack are still unclear and no effort will be made to shed light on what happened,” he said in a statement.
All of the rebels are home to myriad groups for control of mineral-rich lands east of the Congo.
The Central African nation is displaced by 5.2 million people, according to the United Nations Children’s Agency, which said in a report on Friday that it is more displaced than any other country except Syria. 50% have been displaced in the last one year.
The size of Western Europe suffered through one of the most brutal colonial regimes known before decades of corrupt dictatorship. Back-to-back civil wars later attracted many neighboring countries. And many rebel groups came and went during the years of operation of the UN mission, many times in attacking the eastern regional capital Goma, where the ambassador was killed.
In January 2019, the Congo experienced the first peaceful democratic transfer of power since independence in 1960 following the election of President Felix Tseiseki. He Joseph Kabila, successful in a disputed election marked by allegations of massive fraud.
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The United Nations peacekeeping mission, known by its abbreviated Monsco, is working to reduce the presence of at least 16,000-troops and transfer its security work to the Congo authorities.
Atanasio was appointed ambassador to the Italian embassy in Kinshasa in September 2017, after serving in diplomatic roles in Switzerland, Morocco and Nigeria.
Atanasio was awarded the Nasiriya International Peace Prize in October at a ceremony held in a church in southern Italy.
To Atanasio for “his commitment to the purpose of protecting peace among the people” and “to contribute to the realization of important humanitarian projects, to contribute themselves to the spirit of altruism, dedication and service to the people in difficulty” Was quoted, la la Republique, that the account of the daily ceremony.
“What we take in Italy is not in the Congo, where, unfortunately, there are too many problems to solve,” La Repubblica quoted Attanasio as saying. Atnasio described the ambassador’s role as “above all Italians, but also to contribute to achieving peace.” Some 1,000 Italians live in the Congo.