Update March 28, 2017: The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUSCO, confirmed on March 28, 2017, that the bodies of Zaida Catalán, a Swede, and Michael Sharp, an American, were found by UN peacekeepers near Bunkonde in Kasai Central province on March 27.
The two members of the UN Group of Experts on Congo had been reported missing, along with their Congolese interpreter, Betu Tshintela, a motorbike driver, Isaac Kabuayi, and two unidentified motorbike drivers, on March 12, while investigating large-scale human rights violations in the region. The UN reported that efforts continue to find the team’s Congolese members.
The following quote can be attributed to Ida Sawyer, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch:
“We express our deepest condolences to the families, colleagues, and friends of Michael and Zaida, who lost their lives while seeking truth, justice, and an end to the violence and abuse that Congolese in the Kasai region and beyond have long suffered. We hope that the UN’s search efforts promptly locate Betu, Isaac, and their two other Congolese colleagues. Our thoughts are with their loved ones. An international, independent investigation is urgently needed into these deaths and disappearances, and the broader violence in the Kasai region, to help end the abuses there and bring those responsible to justice."
(Kinshasa, March 25, 2017) – The Democratic Republic of Congo government should fully cooperate with United Nations efforts to locate a UN Group of Experts team that has been missing since March 12, 2017, in Kasai Central province, Human Rights Watch said today.