The deaths of Luca Attanasio, 43, and Vittorio Iacovacci, 30, of Italy have been confirmed by the Italian Foreign Ministry. They were killed in Goma, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo along with a Congolese driver.
The driver was working for the World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations. His name has not been released.
Iacovacci was an Italian military policeman serving as the bodyguard of Attanasio, who was Italy’s ambassador to the DR Congo. In a statement obtained by CNN, the Italian Foreign Ministry said, “It is with deep sorrow that the Farnesina confirms the death, today in Goma, of the Ambassador of Italy to the Democratic Republic of Congo Luca Attanasio and of a soldier from the Carabinieri.”
On February 22, 2021, Attanasio and Iacovacci were traveling in a U.N. convoy when their car was attacked in Goma. According to the WFP, a delegation was on a field trip to visit one of its school feeding programs in Rutshuru, North Kivu, which is just over two hours’ drive from Goma.
The attackers fired warning shots in an attempt to stop the convoy, North Kivu governor Carly Nzanzu Kasivita told Reuters. After killing the Congolese driver, they led Attanasio, Iacovacci and other passengers into the forest near Kanyamahoro, a town around 25 km north of Goma.
Park rangers from the Virunga National Park opened fire. The attackers decided to kill Iacovacci then Attanasio.
The other passengers were injured. The person or group behind the attack has yet to be identified.
With an area of 75.72 km2, Goma is the largest city in DR Congo and the capital of North Kivu. The city is located on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, next to Gisenyi, Rubavu, Western Province, Rwanda.
During the M23 rebellion in 2012, rebels of the March 23 Movement captured Goma. Government forces have since taken the city back.