Luca Attanasio, who was the Italian ambassador killed in Congo

Luca Attanasio, who was the Italian ambassador killed in Congo

All the latest news on what happened in Congo.

In the attack on Goma, in Congo, the Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio and a carabiniere who was in a United Nations convoy with the diplomat died.

Vittorio Iacovacci was the name of the carabiniere killed in the attack in Congo where the Italian ambassador also lost his life. Iacovacci was 30 years old.

The attack took place around 10 (9 am Italian) near the town of Kanyamahoro.

Attanasio, and Iacovacci were killed – we read at the Ispi point – in an attack while they were near the town of Kanyamahoro, in North Kivu, north of the capital Goma.

The ambassador was traveling with a World Food Program (WFP) delegation . According to initial reports, the convoy was attacked by armed men who wanted to kidnap UN personnel or perhaps steal food.

There are many armed groups operating in the area of ​​the Virunga mountains, in the east of the country, between Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, and often target the rangers of the park, famous for its mountain gorillas.

The Italian diplomat – according to the reconstruction of the Agi – was involved in an ambush conducted by militiamen armed against UN vehicles in transit on a road north of the city of Goma, the capital of the eastern Congolese province of North Kivu.

The convoy was passing near the city of Kanyamahoro, around 10:15 am this morning, when the armed commando, according to a spokesman for Virunga National Park, attempted to kidnap some members of the group.

The ambassador and the soldier were traveling aboard a car of a Monusco convoy, the United Nations organization's mission for stabilization in the Democratic Republic of Congo .


The park rangers intervened to try to protect the group but without success. Just a month ago, six rangers were killed in the same area: in that case, the Mai-Mai, an armed militia that claims to defend the territory against other armed groups, was responsible for the attack.

The matrix of today's attack is not yet clear although the hypothesis of an attempted kidnapping of UN personnel is strongly circulating.

According to investigative sources collected by Ansa , men of the Democratic Forces for the liberation of Rwanda could be responsible for the armed assault in Congo in which the Italian ambassador, a carabiniere and the Congolose driver died: the Fdlr-Foca is the main remaining group of Rwandan rebels of Hutu ethnicity, known for the genocide in Rwanda.

This is the prevailing hypothesis, although not the only one, also favored by the police forces and local authorities.

The only Italian diplomat in Kinshasa, Ambassador Attanasio was born in Saronno (Varese) in 1967 and graduated from Bocconi in business administration, entering diplomacy in 2004.

(article being updated)



Born in 1977, Luca Attanasio was one of the youngest ambassadors of our country, born in Saronno (Varese) and raised in Limbiate. Graduated in 2001 from Bocconi in business administration, he attended ISPI and then entered a diplomatic career. His was a fast and brilliant career: second commercial secretary in Bern in 2006, confirmed as first commercial secretary the following year, until his transfer to Casablanca as Consul in 2010. Last post in Kinshasa in 2017 when he was appointed head of mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he was reconfirmed as an accredited Extraordinary Plenipotentiary Ambassador to the DRC. In Congo – where about a thousand Italians reside – Attanasio was also carrying out various humanitarian projects. Last year, together with his wife, Zakia Seddiki, he was awarded the Nassirya international prize for peace for the activity of the NGO Mama Sofia (founded by his wife and of which Attanasio was honorary president) which deals with situations of serious difficulty in the Republic Democratic of Congo, especially for children and mothers, with medical clinics, mobile facilities and projects for mothers in prison. He leaves, in addition to his wife, three small daughters.



Born in the province of Milan, 43 years old, graduated with honors from the Luigi Bocconi Commercial University (2001), after a short professional career in business consulting and a Master in International Politics, Luca Attanasio embarks on a diplomatic career (2003).

At the Farnesina he was assigned to the Directorate for Economic Affairs, Business Support Office, then to the secretariat of the Directorate General for Africa. Subsequently he was deputy head secretariat of the undersecretary of state with responsibility for Africa and International Cooperation (2004).

Abroad he is the head of the Economic and Commercial Office at the Italian Embassy in Bern (2006-2010) and the Regent Consul General in Casablanca, Morocco (2010-2013).

In 2013 he returned to the Farnesina where he was appointed Head of the Secretariat of the Directorate General for Globalization and Global Affairs.

He then returned to Africa as first advisor to the Italian embassy in Abuja, Nigeria (2015).

Since 5 September 2017 he has been head of mission in Kinshasa , Democratic Republic of Congo.

From 31 October 2019 he was confirmed on site as an accredited Extraordinary Plenipotentiary Ambassador in the Democratic Republic of Congo.




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AGI SHEET ON Congo: the powder keg of the Virunga Park

The Virunga park, where the ambassador Luca Attanasio and a carabiniere were killed in an ambush, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, decreed in danger since 1994. The park is located in the North-Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo .

It is a unique place for the richness of its biodiversity, famous throughout the world as a remote refuge of the last species of mountain gorillas, but it has become a veritable powder keg in a historically unstable region, on the border with Rwanda. , formerly the scene of the so-called Great African War, fought between 1998 and 2003. Since then the Virunga, an area of ​​7,800 square kilometers that hosts important populations of elephants, hippos, okapi and chimpanzees, has been the haunt of numerous armed groups that they threaten the future of the oldest protected area in all of Africa, primarily the rangers who ensure its protection and anyone who comes near and threatens their interests.

According to a report released by the park authorities, in the last 25 years at least 200 rangers have been killed inside it to defend animals and civilians, the last six on 10 January. A heavy balance that makes Virunga the protected natural area that has paid the highest blood tribute in the world for its protection. Most of the latest deadly attacks against the guards have been carried out by the Mai-Mai militiamen, one of the many armed groups that sow death in the region and compete for control of natural and mineral resources. This vast area in the heart of the Great Lakes region, one of the poorest and most densely populated in Africa, is rich in natural resources that are coveted by the various Congolese, Rwandan and Ugandan armed groups who have found refuge there over the past 20 years. .

According to official estimates, the looting of the park's forests in charcoal has an annual value of about 27.5 million euros. Elephants are killed for their ivory, sold by traffickers across neighboring Rwanda and Uganda. To these smuggling activities are added the taxes illegally collected by armed groups, both the Mai Mai and the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (Fdlr), taxes imposed on fishermen on the shores of Lake Eduardo: in all, around 2,000 pirogues every week. they pay the militiamen five euros in exchange for a token that authorizes their circulation. This was denounced by the Research Center on the Environment, Democracy and Human Rights (Creddho) in Goma, the capital of North Kivu. Another highly profitable activity for armed groups developed in Virunga: the kidnapping of employees of international NGOs, but also of poor peasants and above all of priests. The abductees are released only if the families, generally very poor, manage to pay the ransom, exorbitant sums of up to 500,000 dollars. Numerous families have said that they have become indebted for life to save their loved ones. Having become increasingly unsafe, since 2016 the national number 2, the main road that crosses the park, can only be traveled under escort.

Ten years ago the Virunga Alliance was formed – on the initiative of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of the Environment (ICCN), local and international NGOs, Unesco, the European Union and other donors – to guarantee development economic of the neighboring areas. Among the priority interventions there is the supply of electricity to the 4 million residents and the improvement of their living conditions, in particular thanks to some hydro-electric plants already in service and others under construction, just outside the park. Over the years, the environmental guards have become real soldiers in charge of protecting civilians as well, but obviously this is not enough. Today 800 agents are deployed in the Virunga park, well equipped and trained by the Belgian forces.

Despite the attacks suffered, the number of gorillas and other species is increasing and the best supply of light and water is benefiting tourism, concentrated in the enclave of the Mikeno and Nyiragongo volcanoes. "Armed groups try to sabotage our actions in favor of the populations but we are not discouraged", the deputy director of Virunga, Innocent Mburanumwe, told the French daily 'Le Monde'.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Mon, 22 Feb 2021 11:29:34 +0000.