ITALY’S ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Luca Attanasio, was killed Monday in an attack on a United Nations convoy during a field visit in the Central African nation.
A member of the Carabinieri, the national gendarmerie of Italy, identified as Vittorio Iacovacci, and an unnamed driver of one of the vehicles were also killed, according to Italian and U.N. officials.
The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed the deaths of Attanasio and Iacovacci in a statement, expressing “deep sorrow.”
The ministry said the pair were traveling in a vehicle that was part of a convoy of the U.N.’s peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, known by its French acronym MONUSCO. The deadly attack occurred near Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, which is located in the eastern part of the country near the border with Rwanda.
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said he learned of their deaths “with great dismay and immense sorrow.”
Italian President Sergio Mattarella condemned the “treacherous act of violence,” describing it as a “cowardly attack.”
The delegation was traveling from Goma to the eastern town of Rutshuru to visit a school feeding program run by the World Food Program (WFP), the food-assistance branch of the U.N., according to a statement from the organization, which confirmed the death of a “WFP driver.” A number of other passengers traveling with the delegation were injured in the attack.