Italy's DRC ambassador killed in U.N. convoy attack

Italy's ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, his bodyguard and driver have been killed in an attack on a U.N. convoy in DRC's east, the Italian foreign ministry and local authorities have said.

Luca Attanasio, military policeman Vittorio Iacovacci and their Congolese driver, whose name has not been released, were travelling with the U.N.'s Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC, known as MONUSCO, on Monday (February 22) morning when they were targeted by unknown assailants.

Authorities from the Virunga National Park said the attack took place near the town of Kanyamahoro, a few miles north of the regional capital Goma, and was an attempted kidnapping.

Virunga stretches north from near Goma along DRC's border with Rwanda and Uganda.

Dozens of armed groups operate in the area and park rangers have been repeatedly targeted, including six who were killed in an ambush last month.

Italy's Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio expressed his "great shock and immense sorrow."

He was in Brussels for a European Union meeting when he heard the news, and cut short his visit to head back to Italy.

Attanasio was the head of Italy's mission in DRC since 2017 and became ambassador in 2019.

He was married and had three young daughters according to his Facebook page.