The Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Luca Attanasio, was killed following an attack on a United Nations convoy in the east of the country on Monday, according to AFP.
Italy’s Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio confirmed the attack after leaving a meeting in Brussels, Belgium to return to Rome following the incident.
He also said a policeman travelling with Attanasio was also killed in the attack.
“The circumstances of this brutal attack are not yet known and no effort will be spared to shed light on what happened,” Di Maio said on Facebook, calling the victims “two servants of the state.”
The UN convoy was ambushed by unidentified gunmen who opened fire on them at Virunga National park near the eastern city of Goma, the Province’s Governor, Carly Nzanzu Kasivita told journalists.
Kasivita added that the perpetrators fled after opening fire on the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) convoy. WFP said it was investigating the incident.
The Congolese army said its forces were “combing to find out who the assailants are,” according to AFP.
Media reports suggest that the ambush was an attempt to kidnap UN personnel, but authorities have not announced more information about the attackers.