The governor of North Kivu province, the place the assault happened, instructed Reuters that the assailants stopped the convoy by firing warning pictures, then killed the driving force and tried to steer the Italians right into a forest by the facet of the highway. Park rangers then opened hearth, and the 2 Italians have been killed within the ensuing melee.
Attanasio, 43, had been answerable for Italy’s mission to Congo since 2017 and was made ambassador in 2019. He leaves behind a spouse and three younger daughters. His guard was recognized as Vittorio Iacovacci, 30.
The driving force’s title has not been launched, however WFP officers stated he was a member of their employees. The group’s assertion additionally stated the staff was conducting a discipline go to to a faculty feeding program within the city of Rutshuru.
The realm round Virunga has been a hotbed of violence for many years, and the village the place Monday’s assault happened is identical one from which two British vacationers have been briefly kidnapped in 2019, prompting authorities to shut the park to vacationers for 9 months. Six rangers have been killed final month, including to a toll of round 200 who’ve been slain in assaults by armed teams.
Virunga is situated amid a string of volcanoes that straddle Congo’s borders with Rwanda and Uganda. Armed components from all three international locations have competed over the area’s mineral riches and different sources for many years. The continued humanitarian disaster there has introduced new targets for moneymaking by means of kidnapping for ransom.
“It was with nice shock and immense sorrow that I discovered of the loss of life immediately of our Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo and of a Carabinieri policeman,” Italian International Minister Luigi Di Maio stated in a press release. “The circumstances of this brutal assault are nonetheless unclear and no effort shall be spared to make clear what occurred.”