Italian ambassador, two others killed in ambush in North Kivu

Monday February 22 2021
Luca Attanasio.

Italian Ambassador to the DR Congo Luca Attanasio. PHOTO | ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY via AFP


Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo was killed on Monday morning in an ambush by armed groups a few kilometres north of the city of Goma, in eastern North Kivu Province.

The envoy was in a UN World Food Programme convoy heading to Rutshuru, in the province, when they were attacked at around 10.30 am in an attempted kidnap. The ambassador’s bodyguard and driver were also killed.

“Luca Attanasio and the other two were the targets of the armed gangs that scour this area,” North Kivu Governor Carly Nzanzu Kasivita said, confirming the incident.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack but the governor said it could have been the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) or the Nyatura, who are “very active in the region”.

Dozens of armed groups operate in eastern Congo.

Four people survived the attack.


Attanasio, a former journalist, was Italy’s head of mission in Kinshasa since 2017 and was made ambassador in 2019.