19:04 GMT03 March 2021
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    Earlier in the day, Reuters quoted the Virunga National Park as saying that the diplomat was wounded in the east of the country during a kidnapping attempt.

    Italian Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo Luca Attanasio has died in a militant attack on a UN convoy in Goma, a city in the east of the country near the Rwandan border.

    The Italian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the diplomat was heading to the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo when their convoy was attacked by militants.

    At least two other people were killed - a policeman identified as Vittorio Iacovacci and a driver - and several others were injured in the attack.

    President Sergio Mattarella has slammed the "cowardly attack" and offered his condolences, joined by Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

    "The Italian Republic is in mourning for these servants of the state who lost their lives", Mattarella said.

    The DRC Interior Ministry accused Rwandan Hutu rebel group of perpetrating the attack.

    "A convoy of the World Food Programme (WFP) was the victim of an armed attack by members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR)", the ministry said.

    The area of the attack - the DRC's border with Rwanda and Uganda - is frequently subject to attacks by various militant groups.

    North Kivu, where Goma is situated, is the home province of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) group that brings together Islamists and forces opposed to long-time Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. The ADF has operated in the province since the late 1990s. In 2017, the group swore allegiance to Daesh*. The United Nations holds the group responsible for killing hundreds of civilians.


    * Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/"Islamic State") is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and other nations

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