Assassination of Luca Attanasio

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Assassination of Luca Attanasio
LocationNorth Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Date22 February 2021
10:15 a.m. (UTC+02:00)[1]
TargetLuca Attanasio[2]
Attack type
Attempted kidnapping, ambush, assassination, mass shooting
PerpetratorsFDLR (alleged by DRC,[3][4] denied by the group[5][6])

On 22 February 2021, a World Food Programme (WFP) convoy of three vehicles carrying a total of seven people was attacked by armed individuals.[7][8] The convoy was travelling in North Kivu, from the province's capital of Goma to a WFP school feeding programme in Rutshuru, a town 70 kilometres north of Goma, on a route that would have taken the vehicles through Virunga National Park.[7] Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio was among three men killed. The attack occurred at 10:15 a.m. local time near the townships of Kibumba[9] and Kanyamahoro.[10] The WFP and North Kivu governor Carly Nzanzu said the convoy did not have a security escort at the time of the attack.[11][12]


Attanasio was the main target of the attack.[2] As the gunmen attempted to kidnap him a gunfight erupted and the kidnapping failed. The attackers killed two people at the scene, identified as 30-year-old carabiniere Vittorio Iacovacci and Congolese United Nations driver Mustapha Milambo.[7][10][13] Others travelling in the convoy were also injured.[11] It is unclear if any of the gunmen were captured or killed. Attanasio was shot in the abdomen and hospitalized in critical condition at the Level III Indian Field Hospital in Goma.[1][10][14] He died shortly after arrival at the hospital,[15] bringing the total number of deaths resulting from the attack to three.[10]

International responses[edit]

The bodies of Attanasio and Ianovacci were repatriated to Italy via military aircraft.[16] Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi asked the United Nations and the World Food Programme to open an investigation into the attack.[17] President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Félix Tshisekedi met with Attanasio's widow Zakia Seddiki and said his government had started an investigation in Goma "so that light is shed on these heinous crimes as soon as possible."[18] Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio said "the circumstances of this brutal attack are still unclear and no effort will be spared to shed light on what happened."[19]A group of Italian investigators went to Goma in coordination with a prosecutorial investigation that started in Rome.[18] Several Italian newspapers ran front-page tributes to those who were killed; Turin-based La Stampa ran the headline "Luca and Vittorio. The best of Italy."[18] Pope Francis expressed his sorrow "for the disappearance of these servants of peace and law."[18] Congolese authorities accused the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda of the killing;[4] they denied responsibility and condemned the attack.[6]


  1. ^ a b "L'ambassadeur italien en RDC tué dans une attaque : ce que l'on sait". L'Express (in French). 22 February 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  2. ^ a b Chiariello, Biagio (22 February 2021). "Attentato in RD Congo: morto ambasciatore italiano Luca Attanasio, uccisi anche un carabiniere e l'autista". Fanpage (in Italian). Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  3. ^ "Per l'ambasciatore ucciso c'è la pista dei guerriglieri del Ruanda". AGI – Agenzia Italiana (in Italian). 22 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  4. ^ a b Mahamba, Fiston; Bujakera, Stanis (22 February 2021). "Italy's envoy to Congo killed in attack on U.N. convoy". Reuters. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  5. ^ ""Ambasciatore e carabiniere uccisi dai rapitori"". Adnkronos (in Italian). Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  6. ^ a b Kamale, James-Yves; Petesch, Carley (23 February 2021). "Congo, Italy dispatch investigators into ambassador's death". The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Specia, Megan; Pianigiani, Gaia (22 February 2021). "Italian Ambassador Among Three Killed in Attack on U.N. Convoy in Congo". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  8. ^ "L'ambasciatore Luca Attanasio e il carabiniere Vittorio Iacovacci uccisi in agguato in Congo. Mattarella: "Lutto per servitori dello Stato"". il Fatto Quotidiano (in Italian). 22 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  9. ^ @MONUSCO (22 February 2021). "L'attaque a eu lieu à Kibumba, à 25 kilomètres au nord-est de Goma, dans la province du Nord-Kivu" (Tweet) (in French) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ a b c d Burke, Jason; Giuffrida, Angela (22 February 2021). "Italian ambassador to DR Congo dies in attack on UN convoy". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  11. ^ a b "Attack on World Food Programme field mission in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo | World Food Programme". Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  12. ^ Uaykani, Alain (22 February 2021). "Italian ambassador to DR Congo dies after WFP convoy attacked". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  13. ^ Kelly, Jeremy; Kington, Tom (22 February 2021). "Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio murdered during failed Congolese kidnap". The Times. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  14. ^ "Italian ambassador, police officer and driver killed in attack in Congo". CBS News. 22 February 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  15. ^ "Italian ambassador to DR Congo killed in UN convoy attack". BBC News. 22 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  16. ^ Mahamba, Fiston; Holland, Hereward (23 February 2021). "Italy repatriates ambassador and bodyguard killed in Congo". Reuters. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  17. ^ D'Emilio, Frances (24 February 2021). "Italy presses UN for answers on envoy's slaying in Congo". Associated Press. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  18. ^ a b c d Pianigiani, Gaia (23 February 2021). "Italy Mourns an Ambassador and His Bodyguard, Killed in Congo". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  19. ^ Kamale, Jean-Yves; Winfield, Nicole (22 February 2021). "Three killed, including Italian ambassador, in Congo attack". Associated Press. Retrieved 24 February 2021.