DRC: Bodies of two UN experts identified

March 30, 2017 Africa , OPINION/NEWS

Bilaminou Alao/MONUSCO



Sylvain Muyali

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has confirmed that the bodies discovered on Monday in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s central Kasaï province, in the centre of the country, were indeed those of the two UN experts, missing for two weeks.

The two UN experts for the DRC, American Michael Sharp and Swedish Zaida Catalan, missing since March 12 in central Kasai, “lost their lives trying to understand the causes of the conflict and insecurity in the DRC, in order to help bring peace to that country.”

It is in these terms that UN Secretary-General António Guterres confirmed that the two bodies discovered in Central Kasaï were indeed those of the two experts sent by the United Nations.

Earlier in the day, Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende said three bodies – two white-skinned and one black-skinned – were found on Monday March 27th near Moyo River, between Bukonde- Tshibulu, in the province of Kasai-central.

“Let justice be done. I trust the Congolese authorities to conduct a full investigation into this incident. The United Nations will also conduct an investigation. In the event of criminal acts, the United Nations will do its utmost to ensure that justice is done,” added the UN boss, currently traveling to Jordan.

António Guterres also called on the Congolese authorities to “continue the search to find the four Congolese nationals who accompanied the two experts,” in cooperation with the United Nations. Among them were an interpreter, identified by Human Rights Watch as Betu Tshintela, as well as three motorcycle drivers, only one of whom was identified as Isaac Kabuayi.



The UN continues its work in the DRC


The Secretary-General finally assured in his statement that the UN would “honor the memory” of Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan by “continuing to support the valuable work of the group of experts and the entire UN family in the DRC.”

The UN expert group on the DRC is composed of six persons, appointed annually by the UN Secretary-General. Every year, this group presents a report on the illicit movement of arms in the Congolese territory, destabilized by numerous rebel groups since the end of the Second Congo War (1998-2003).

The announcement of the death of Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan comes as the UN postponed the Security Council vote on the renewal of the mandate of MONUSCO, the UN mission in DR Congo, on Thursday or Friday.

In the Kasai region, the UN did not have any force until the recent deployment of about 100 Blue Helmets in and around Kananga.











Sylvain Muyali

Sylvain Muyali is a Congolese Humanitarian Fixer Journalist, Photographer and Filmmaker, as well as acting as Fixer and Facilitator for analysts and researchers, building capacities for NGO monitoring in the in Central Africa (DR Congo, Rwanda,Uganda, Burundi, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Congo Brazzaville), mostly in Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has reported previously for the Associated Press and Tuck Magazine.


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