TRAC Incident Report: Ambush on United Nations’ Convoy Kills Italian Ambassador to Congo, Luca Attanasio, and 2 Others, in a Failed Kidnap Attempt Near Kanyamahoro Town, Goma, North Kivu, Eastern Congo

On 22 February at 10:15 am local time, unknown assailants ambushed a United Nations’ World Food Programme’s convoy near Kanyamahoro town, Goma, North Kivu, Congo. The convoy was travelling from Goma to visit a World Food Program (WFP) school project in Rutshuru.

The attack led to the death of the Italian ambassador to Congo, Luca Attanasio, an Italian carabiniere gendarmerie officer and the driver and the injury of another 2 who were on board. The ambassador’s vehicle was part of the United Nations’ World Food Programme’s (WFP) convoy which was ambushed by unknown assailants.

The attackers intended to take hostages but when the government forces intervened to repel the attack, the ambassador was shot with several bullets in his abdomen, then died of his injuries.

The Congolese government appears to have been warned or had some intelligence of an impending attack. On 19 February 2021, the Congolese government started reinforcing Kangbayi Central Prison, fearing an attack. This prison was attacked by Islamic State Central Africa (Wilayat Wasat Ifriqiyah / ISCA) in October 2020 and led to the escape of more than 1000 inmates. ISCA the most likely group responsible for the failed kidnapping.