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Italian Ambassador Among Three Killed in Attack on U.N. Convoy in Congo

The convoy was headed from Goma to Rutshuru, a town about 45 miles north of Goma, on a route that would have taken the vehicles through Virunga National Park, though it is unclear where exactly the attack occurred. The World Food Program said that a number of other people were injured in the attack.

The attack comes as a wave of violence has engulfed the area in recent weeks, with a deadly attack by a different militia in Virunga National Park leaving six people dead last month.

Virunga, Africa’s first national park and a Unesco World Heritage site, is known as the home of the region’s famed, and endangered, mountain gorillas. But the North Kivu region where it is has also been the scene of regular violence, as spill over from the conflict between the government and militia groups, as well as the fall out of neighboring conflicts, have played out there.

Last year, 17 people were killed in another attack in Virunga, one of the deadliest attacks in the park in recent years, was also believed to have been carried out by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda.

In the years since it gained independence in 1960, after a brutal colonial period, the Democratic Republic of Congo has been wracked by civil wars and for decades ruled by a succession of corrupt dictators.

The country experienced it first peaceful democratic transfer of power after independence in January 2019, when President Felix Tshisekedi was elected, but the process was widely criticized as fraudulent.

The United Nations’ mission, known by its acronym MONUSCO, has been active in the country since 2010, after taking over from an earlier peace mission in place in the nation since 1999. It has been gradually drawing down the presence of its troops in hopes of handing over security work to the Congolese authorities.