Italy’s ambassador to the central African country of Congo and an Italian police officer were killed on Monday. The incident took place when he was traveling in an area of the United Nations Mission convoy to the region of Congo, which is a stronghold of innumerable rebel groups.
Attack on the convoy of the World Food Program
The ambassador’s assassination has been confirmed by the Foreign Ministry and the local police. Congo residents living in the Nyarangongo area of North Kivu reported that an ambush on the World Food Program convoy near Gomo, the capital of the eastern region of Congo, killed the Italian ambassador Luca Atanasio and another authority.
Cave said five people, including the Italian ambassador, were in the vehicle. The driver was hit by several bullets in the attack, killing him and injuring others. The situation is very tense. The injured have been taken to a hospital close to the United Nations.
Ambassador Luca Atanasio was posted to Kinshasa in 2017
According to the information, Luca Atanasio served as diplomat in Switzerland, Morocco and Nigeria before taking over as ambassador in Kinshasa in September 2017. Atanasio was awarded the NASCARIA International Peace Prize in a ceremony held in a church in South Italy in October 2020.
Mambo Kawe, president of the local civil society group in the Nyarangongo area, said that two British nationals were abducted by unidentified arms men from the same area known as ‘Three Entanna’.
Joseph Borrell, the European Union (EU) foreign policy chief, briefed the foreign ministers of the member countries when he was chairing a meeting in Brussels. He expressed condolences to Italy and the United Nations. EU Commission spokeswoman Nabila Masrali said that this news is very worrying and we are monitoring the situation through the EU delegation. However, he did not provide any casualties in the incident.
It is noteworthy that Congo is the stronghold of countless rebel groups and all are trying to occupy the mineral-rich area. Last year, more than 2000 civilians were killed in an attack by armed groups in the area, while millions of people have been displaced. The United Nations has called this displacement the worst humanitarian crisis.
According to the United Nations Children’s Agency, 52 million people have been displaced in this Central African country. Equally similar to Western Europe in size and resource-rich Congo, there has been a corrupt dictatorship for decades. Along with this, many civil wars also took place and later there was a dispute with many neighboring countries.
16 thousand soldiers of United Nations deployed
Under the UN mission, 16,000 soldiers are stationed there to establish peace and hand over security work to the Congo administration. It is noteworthy that the Congo gained independence in the year 1960 and since then for the first time in January 2019, there was a change of power in a democratic and peaceful manner and Felix Tshisekedi became the President.