MONUSCO wishes to recognize the efforts and dedication of the MONUSCO troops and police that so tirelessly searched for Michael and Zaida in extremely difficult circumstances.
KINSHASA, Congo DRC (APO), March 29, 2017:
As announced by the Secretary General of the United Nations, the United Nations Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) has confirmed that the bodies located and recovered by MONUSCO peacekeepers on 27 March are those of the two members of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Michael Sharp (United States) and Zaida Catalan (Sweden), missing since 12 March. The bodies of the experts were located in Kasai Central Province following weeks of intensive searching by MONUSCO with the support of the Congolese authorities.
“On behalf on the entire UN family in the DRC, I would like to express profound condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of Michael and Zaida. Our thoughts also go out to the families and friends of the Congolese nationals who are still missing and MONUSCO has offered its support to the authorities in the ongoing search for these people” declared Maman Sambo Sidikou, head of MONUSCO.
“The perpetrators of this terrible crime need to be brought to justice. MONUSCO trusts that the authorities of the DRC will conduct a thorough investigation into their death and the United Nations stands ready to provide the support necessary to ensure that justice is done”, Mr Sidikou added.
MONUSCO wishes to recognize the efforts and dedication of the MONUSCO troops and police that so tirelessly searched for Michael and Zaida in extremely difficult circumstances. These search efforts have also been aided by excellent cooperation between all parties involved in the search and recovery efforts especially the authorities of the DRC, the United States and Sweden.
Mr. Sidikou concluded: “MONUSCO and the United Nations family in the DRC will continue to honour the work and dedication of Michael and Zaida as we pursue our common commitment to supporting a durable peace in the DRC, and particularly in the Kasais.”
Reporting from Dakar, Senegal on March 28, 2017, the Washington Post said three bodies, including those of a male and female Caucasian, had been found in Congo’s Central Kasai province two weeks after two U.N. experts and their colleagues disappeared there.
The Congo DRC Government spokesman Lambert Mende told Top Congo FM that the bodies were found on Monday but he did not confirm they were those of Michael Sharp of the United States and Zaida Catalan of Sweden.
“To our knowledge, there are no other foreigners who have disappeared in this region,” Mende said, adding that the provincial commissioner was on his way to recover and identify the bodies of two Caucasians and a Congolese.
Sharp’s father, John Sharp, wrote on his Facebook page on Monday that the bodies of two Caucasians were found in shallow graves in the search area. “Since no other Caucasians have been reported missing in that region, there is a high probability that these are the bodies of MJ and Zaida,” he wrote. “Dental records and DNA samples will be used to confirm the identities. This will take some time.”
Sharp, Catalan, interpreter Betu Tshintela, driver Isaac Kabuayi and two motorbike drivers went missing March 12 in Central Kasai while looking into recent large-scale violence and alleged human rights violations by the Congolese army and local militia groups.