Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo was killed in an ambush in eastern Congo Monday, according to the Italian foreign ministry.
In a brief statement, the ministry says Luca Attanasio was killed in the city of Goma while traveling in a convoy of the United Nations stabilization mission in Congo.
Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, said in a statement: "I received with dismay the news of the cowardly attack that struck an international convoy near the city of Goma a few hours ago, killing Ambassador Luca Attanasio, carabiniere Vittorio Lacovacci and their driver.
Reuters, citing the Virunga National Park, reports the convoy was attacked near the town of Kanyamahoro as part of a kidnap attempt.
Congo’s easteren provinces are home to myriad rebel groups all vying for control of the mineral-rich land.
More than 2,000 civilians were killed last year in the eastern Congo in violence by armed groups whose brutal attacks using machetes and heavy weapons.
Over 5.2 million people have been displaced in the Central African nation, according to the United Nations Children’s Agency.
With additional reporting from VOA