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Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio dies in Congo attack on U.N. convoy

Luca Attanasio, 43, had been Italy's ambassador to the DRC since 2019 and led Rome's mission in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa since 2017. Photo by EPA-EFE/Italian Foreign Ministry
Luca Attanasio, 43, had been Italy's ambassador to the DRC since 2019 and led Rome's mission in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa since 2017. Photo by EPA-EFE/Italian Foreign Ministry

Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Luca Attanasio, Italy's ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was among several people killed on Monday during an attack on a United Nations convoy there, officials said.

Attanasio was part of a delegation that was traveling from Goma near the DRC's eastern border to a World Food Program site in Rutshuru about 40 miles away when the attack occurred, the United Nations said.

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Vittorio Iacovacci, a member of Italy's Carabinieri police force, was also killed in the attack -- along with a member of the World Food Program.

The United Nations said several militias are known to frequent the area, but no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

"[We] will work with national authorities to determine the details behind the attack, which occurred on a road that had previously been cleared for travel without security escorts," the World Food Program said in a statement.

Attanasio, 43, had been Italy's ambassador to the DRC since 2019 and led Rome's mission in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa since 2017.

The DRC has the world's second-largest number of displaced people (5.2 million) and is home to about 527,000 refugees from other countries.

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