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Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), an Italian policeman and their Congolese driver have been killed in an ambush on a United Nations convoy in eastern DRC.

The ambush on Monday occurred as the convoy carrying Ambassador Luca Attanasio was travelling from the city of Goma to visit a World Food Programme (WFP) school feeding project in Rutshuru, according to the United Nations agency. It said several other passengers travelling with the delegation sustained injuries during the attack.

North Kivu Governor Carly Nzanzu told Al Jazeera the seven-member convoy was not escorted by any security forces when the incident happened.

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The WFP said it was seeking information from local authorities as the ambush occurred on a road that had previously been cleared for travel without security escorts.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which took place at about 10:15am (08:15 GMT).

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio expressed his “great dismay and immense sorrow” over the attack and left a meeting in Brussels with European Union counterparts to make an early return to Rome.

“The circumstances of this brutal attack are not yet known and no effort will be spared to shed light on what happened,” Di Maio said, paying tribute to the victims.