İrem UZUN -TDO- The ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo has been killed in Goma, the Italian Foreign Ministry has told CNN. Luca Attanasio died alongside an Italian soldier after their car was attacked as they traveled in a UN convoy in the eastern part of the country. "It is with deep sorrow that the Farnesina (Foreign Affairs) confirms the death, today in Goma, of the Ambassador of Italy to the Democratic Republic of Congo Luca Attanasio and of a soldier from the Carabinieri," the ministry said in a statement.
Attanasio was a passenger in one of two vehicles travelling about 15km north of Goma when the attack happened on Monday morning. The vehicles were "ambushed by a group of six attackers, who fired warning shots before taking all the passengers into the Virunga National Park", the governor of North Kivu province, Carly Nzanzu, told the BBC. "That's when a patrol of Virunga National Park rangers intervened and managed to free four people," he said. "Unfortunately, before they ran away, the assailants shot the ambassador and his bodyguard, and they killed the Congolese driver at the start of the attack," the governor added.
Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio left a meeting in Brussels to return to Rome following the news. "The circumstances of this brutal attack are not yet known, and no effort will be spared to shed light on what happened," Di Maio said on Facebook, honoring the victims as "two servants of the state."