The Italy Foreign Ministry says its ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo has been killed in an attack in the east of the country.
The ministry disclosed this in a statement on Monday.
It said Luca Attanasio, 43, died in hospital on Monday after the United Nations convoy he was travelling in came under fire near Goma, BBC reports. The convoy reportedly belonged to the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP).
An Italian military police officer travelling with the envoy and a third person were also killed, the report says.
“It is with deep sadness that the foreign ministry confirms the death, today in Goma, of the Italian ambassador. the ministry’s statement said.
“Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio expressed his “great dismay and immense sorrow” at the killings.
“No effort will be spared to shed light on what happened,” he said.
The attack happened at around 10:15 local time (08:15 GMT) just north of Goma, Reuters reports. The attack is believed to have been an attempted kidnapping.
Militias also clash regularly in the east of the country, where a large UN force is struggling to keep the peace.
Attanasio had represented Italy in the DR Congo since 2017. He joined the diplomatic service in 2003 and spent time in Morocco and Nigeria.
DR Congo was for many years at the centre of a brutal civil war that drew in several neighbouring countries.
The conflict led to the loss of some five million lives between 1994 and 2003, with some observers branding it Africa’s Great War.
But the end of the conflict did not mark an end to the violence. Dozens of militias and rebel groups continue to operate in eastern areas.