Italian ambassador to DR Congo, Luca Attanasio, killed in militia attack

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Yesterday, Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo Luca Attanasio was killed along with two others during an attack on a World Food Programme convoy en route to Rutshuru. Attanasio reportedly was injured and later died in hospital. Attanasio was 43-years-old.

According to Virunga National Park, the attack occurred near the town of Kanyamahoro, North Kivu at approximately 10:15am local time (0815 UTC). According to the provincial governor, via the BBC, the attack was perpetrated by six men who took the passengers into Virunga National Park. The Italian foreign ministry later confirmed the death. The two others killed were military policeman Vittorio Iacovacci and a Congolese driver. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, and Congolese officials suggested it was likely a kidnapping attempt.

Attanasio had served in several diplomatic missions, including Morocco and Nigeria. He had served as the ambassador to the Congo since late 2019 and been awarded the Nassiriya Peace Prize.