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Italy’s Ambassador to Congo and Bodyguard Laid to Rest in Rome

The caskets of Italian ambassador to Democratic Republic of Congo Luca Attanasio and Italian Carabinieri police officer Vittorio Iacovacci are driven away at the end of their funeral, in Rome, Feb. 25, 2021.

Italy honored its ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo and his bodyguard at a state funeral Thursday, three days after they were killed in an attack in the Central African country.

Ambassador Luca Attanasio and paramilitary officer Vittorio Iacovacci were killed in an attack on a United Nations convoy by armed men as the convoy was en route to a U.N. World Food Program (WFP) school facility in the eastern Congolese town of Rutshuru.

Moustapha Milambo, a Congolese driver for the WFP, was also killed in the attack.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio attended the funeral at the Santa Maria degli Angeli Church in Rome.

Di Maio told legislators Wednesday that his government has asked the U.N. and the WFP to investigate security responsible for the convoy.

Italian police investigators have already left for Congo to collaborate with the country’s own investigation. Italian prosecutors are expected to launch a full investigation when they return.

The prime minister also said Italian investigators would go all out to determine the motive for Milambo’s killing.

Attanasio and Iacovacci were given a military salute as their caskets, covered in Italy’s tri-colored flag, were removed from hearses. A military band played somber music as the caskets were moved to the church.

Attanasio leaves a wife and three children. Iacovacci was engaged to be married.

Early autopsy results suggest the two men were killed by crossfire, not execution, according to Italian reports from Italian news media.

The WFP, based in Rome, won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for feeding refugees and other malnourished people around the world.