On March 12th, American Michael Sharp, Swede Zaida Catalan, interpreter Betu Tshintela, driver Isaac Kabuayi and two motorcycle drivers were abducted in Kasai-Central. On Tuesday the UN confirmed that the remains of Mr Sharp, Ms Catalan and Mr Tshintela had been found in a shallow grave between Tshimbulu and Kananga. Ms Catalan had been decapitated. A search is underway for their Congolese colleagues.

Mr Sharp and Ms Catalan were investigating violence and human rights abuses committed by the military and rebel groups. The New York Times article linked to below has further information.

From France24

Bodies of missing UN experts found in DR Congo

The bodies of two UN experts and an interpreter who went missing in the Democratic Republic of Congo earlier this month have been found, and one of them was decapitated, a government spokesman said Tuesday.

“It’s now a certainty. It is the two investigators. We identified the third body in the grave with them as their Congolese interpreter,” Communications Minister Lambert Mende said.

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From Voice of America

Bodies of Missing UN Investigators Found in DRC

Sharp, a U.S. citizen, and Catalan, a Swedish national, were sent by the U.N. to investigate reported human rights abuses near the village of Bunkonde, south of the provincial capital, Kananga.

They disappeared March 12 along with Tshintela, their Congolese interpreter, and three other Congolese nationals, including their driver, Isaac Kabuayi, and two unidentified motorbike drivers.

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From the Evening Standard

UN experts Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalán found dead in shallow graves in DRC

The DCR’s police inspector general Charles Bisengimana said the three bodies were found on Monday between the cities of Tshimbulu and Kananga, the provincial capital. The official confirmation came a day after Mr Sharp’s father John, from Kansas, wrote on his Facebook page that there was a high probability two of the bodies in the search area graves were Michael and his colleague. “All other words fail me,” he wrote.

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From the New York Times

Bodies of 2 U.N. Researchers Are Found in a Shallow Grave in Congo

The experts are not everyone’s friends. They uncover inconvenient facts about people committing crimes, and higher-ups helping them. In their previous reports, the experts had implicated some military officials in wrongdoing. The part of Kasai-Central Province they had traveled to had lately been littered with suspected mass graves, and the Congolese Army was blamed for some of them.

There were reports of children being conscripted to fight. Ms. Catalan was responsible for investigating child soldiers, among other things. Mr. Sharp was the coordinator of the panel.

Please click here to read more.


From ReliefWeb

DRC: Deaths of two UN experts must not be in vain

In response to the killing of two UN experts in Kasai Province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

“These deaths should not be in vain, but serve as a reminder of the urgent need to end the violence in Kasai Province that has so far claimed more than 400 lives, and which the two UN officials lost their lives trying to shed a light on.

“The DRC government must also investigate the killings itself, while facilitating the UN’s own investigation, and ensure that those responsible are held to account. It must also continue to search for the interpreter and three motorcycle taxi drivers who were kidnapped with them, and remain unaccounted for.”

Please click here to read more.

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