Luca Attanasio

Luca Attanasio
Italian Ambassador to
the Democratic Republic of the Congo
In office
5 September 2017 – 22 February 2021
Personal details
Born(1977-05-23)23 May 1977
Saronno, Italy
Died22 February 2021(2021-02-22) (aged 43)
Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Cause of deathGunshot wounds
Spouse(s)Zakia Seddiki

Luca Attanasio (23 May 1977 – 22 February 2021) was an Italian diplomat, who served as the ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 2017 until his death in February 2021.[1]

Personal life

Attanasio was born on 23 May 1977 in Saronno, Lombardy, Italy. He grew up in Limbiate.[2] He was married and had three children.[2][3]


Attanasio graduated with honors at the Luigi Bocconi Commercial University in 2001. He started his diplomatic career in 2003, at the Farnesina, as Directorate for Economic Affairs, Business Support Office, and then to the secretariat of the Directorate General for Africa. A year later he became deputy head secretariat of the undersecretary of state with responsibility for Africa and International Cooperation. Attanasio started his diplomatic career outside Italy in 2006, serving as the Economic and Commercial Office at the Italian Embassy in Bern (2006–2010) and the Regent Consul General in Casablanca, Morocco (2010–2013).[4] In 2013 he returned to the Farnesina where he was appointed Head of the Secretariat of the Directorate General for Globalization and Global Affairs. He then returned to Africa as first counselor at the Italian embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2015. From 5 September 2017 until his death he was head of mission in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. From 31 October 2019 he was confirmed on site as an Extraordinary Plenipotentiary Ambassador accredited in the DRC.[3][5] Attanasio was one of Italy's youngest ambassadors.[6]


On 22 February 2021, a World Food Programme (WFP) convoy of three vehicles, carrying a total of seven people,[7] of the MONUSCO, the United Nations mission for the stabilization of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in which Attanasio was travelling, was attacked by six armed individuals.[8] The convoy was travelling in North Kivu, from the province's capital of Goma to a WFP school feeding programme in Rutshuru, a town 70 kilometres (43 mi) north of Goma, on a route that would have taken the vehicles through Virunga National Park.[7] The attack occurred near the townships of Kibumba[9] and Kanyamahoro.[1] The WFP has stated the attack occurred on a road that had previously been cleared for travel without security escorts.[10]

Attanasio was the main target of the attack.[11] As the gunmen attempted to kidnap him, they opened fire, killing Mustapha Milambo, the Congolese UN driver.[12][7][1] Then they threatened the six other members of the convoy and brought them to the nearby forest.[13] As local security forces were arriving at the scene following the report of shots fired, the gunmen killed 30-year-old carabiniere Vittorio Iacovacci and critically wounded Attanasio. The attackers then kidnapped three of the hostages and fled the scene; a third Italian national was also wounded but escaped.[14][10] Attanasio was hospitalized in critical condition at the UN Hospital in Goma, but died there soon after his admission due to gunshot wounds to his abdomen,[12][1][15] bringing the total number of deaths resulting from the attack to three.[1][16] Attanasio was the first foreign ambassador to be killed in the DRC since 1997.[15]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Italian ambassador to DR Congo dies in attack on UN convoy". the Guardian. 22 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Chi erano Luca Attanasio e Vittorio Iacovacci". Il Giorno (in Italian). 22 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Luca Attanasio: Italian ambassador killed in Congo during kidnap attempt". The Independent. 22 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  4. ^ "Luca Attanasio, chi era l'ambasciatore morto in Congo: era tra i diplomatici italiani più giovani nel mondo". Il Messaggero (in Italian). 22 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  5. ^ "Luca Attanasio, chi era l'ambasciatore ucciso in Congo". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). 22 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  6. ^ "Premio Nassiriya per la Pace a Luca Attanasio, ambasciatore italiano in Congo". la Repubblica. 13 October 2020. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Specia, Megan; Pianigiani, Gaia (22 February 2021). "Italian Ambassador Among Three Killed in Attack on U.N. Convoy in Congo". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  8. ^ "L'ambasciatore Luca Attanasio e il carabiniere Vittorio Iacovacci uccisi in agguato in Congo. Mattarella: "Lutto per servitori dello Stato"". Il Fatto Quotidiano (in Italian). 22 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  9. ^ @MONUSCO (22 February 2021). "L'attaque a eu lieu à Kibumba, à 25 kilomètres au nord-est de Goma, dans la province du Nord-Kivu" (Tweet) (in French) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ a b "Attack on World Food Programme field mission in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo | World Food Programme". www.wfp.org. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  11. ^ "Attentato in RD Congo: morto ambasciatore italiano Luca Attanasio, uccisi anche un carabiniere e l'autista". Fanpage (in Italian). 22 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  12. ^ a b Rome, Jeremy Kelly, Kinshasa | Tom Kington. "Italian ambassador among three killed in Congolese ambush". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  13. ^ "Congo, uccisi l'ambasciatore italiano Luca Attanasio, un carabiniere della scorta e l'autista – "Portati nella foresta e giustiziati"". TGCom24 (in Italian). 22 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  14. ^ "Attanasio e Iacovacci portati nella foresta e uccisi. Congo: tutti gli aggiornamenti". Quotidiano.net (in Italian). 22 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  15. ^ a b "Italian ambassador to DR Congo killed in UN convoy attack". BBC News. 22 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  16. ^ "Italian ambassador to DR Congo killed in UN convoy attack". BBC. Retrieved 22 February 2021.

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