NewsFatal missions: Envoys killed in the line of duty

Fatal missions: Envoys killed in the line of duty


Paris, France: Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo was killed on Monday when a UN convoy came under attack in the troubled east of the country.

The killing is the latest in a line of dramatic assassinations of international envoys.

Art gallery assassination

The shooting of the Russian ambassador to Turkey in an Ankara art gallery makes headlines around the world, with the attack on December 19, 2016, recorded by a photographer covering the exhibition.

With both countries at loggerheads over the war in Syria, an off-duty Turkish policeman crying “Aleppo” and “revenge” guns down Andrei Karlov with his service revolver.

The killing came on the eve of a crisis meeting on Syria between the Russian, Turkish, and Iranian foreign ministers.

Benghazi ‘scandal’

The murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens by a Libyan mob on September 11, 2012, shocks America and later dogs the failed presidential campaign of then US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

An Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist group is blamed for helping storm the US consulate in Libya’s second city Benghazi, setting fire to a building occupied by Stevens.

Three other American staff are killed, with the parents of two of them later suing Clinton. However, a House Republican committee clears her of not protecting the diplomats.

Five other US envoys slain

Stevens is one of six US envoys murdered since World War II, according to the State Department.

The first is in 1968 when the US ambassador to Guatemala is abducted and executed by armed rebels.

In 1973 the ambassador to Sudan is taken hostage and killed by Palestinian commandos. A year later the envoy to Cyprus is shot dead in his embassy in Nicosia during a demonstration by Greek Cypriots.

A few months after the Lebanese civil war breaks out in 1976, ambassador Francis Melloy is abducted and killed by a pro-Palestinian group. And in 1979 Adolph Dubs, the envoy in Afghanistan is abducted by radical Islamists and killed during a rescue attempt by government forces in Kabul.

‘Crime of passion’

Greek ambassador to Brazil Kyriakos Amiridis is murdered by the police officer lover of his Brazilian wife in December 2016.

His body is found in a burned-out rental car under a bridge in Rio de Janeiro. While the officer admits the killing, the ambassador’s widow protests her innocence, saying she is the “victim of an accelerated, unjust and disconnected police investigation.”

Kandahar killing

The United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Afghanistan dies of his wounds in February 2017, a month after a bombing in Kandahar that also killed five other UAE officials.

Juma Mohammed Abdullah Al Kaabi had been leading a delegation to the provincial governor’s office in the southern city when the bomber struck, killing 12 people instantly.

IRA double hit

Two British ambassadors were killed by the Irish republicans. Sir Richard Sykes is shot in front of his residence in the Dutch capital The Hague in March 1979 after investigating the murder of the envoy to Dublin, Christopher Ewart-Biggs, blown up in an IRA landmine three years earlier.

French ambassadors

Louis Delamare, French envoy in Beirut, is shot dead in his car in the Lebanese capital in September 1981 in a hit blamed on Syria.

In January 1993 Philippe Bernard, France’s ambassador to the then Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, is killed by a stray bullet as trouble breaks out in the capital Kinshasa.

‘Che Guevara’ in Paris

Bolivia’s ambassador to Paris, Joaquin Zenteno Anaya, is shot near the Seine river in May 1976 in a killing claimed by a group calling itself the International Che Guevara Brigades.


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