The bodies of two United Nations experts missing since March 12 in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been positively identified, the UN said in a statement late Tuesday.
The remains of Zaida Catalan of Sweden and Michael Sharp of the United States were discovered by United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) peacekeepers on Monday, according to the statement by UN Secretary General António Guterres.
“Michael and Zaida lost their lives seeking to understand the causes of conflict and insecurity in the DRC in order to help bring peace to the country and its people,” Guterres said, expressing his condolences to their families and colleagues.
“We will honor their memory by continuing to support the invaluable work of the Group of Experts and the whole UN family in the DRC.”
The deaths of Catalan and Sharp, along with that of their Congolese interpreter, were earlier confirmed by DRC government spokesman Lambert Mende.
The UN experts were investigating human rights abuses near the remote village of Bunkonde, south of the provincial capital, Kananga, when they were abducted by an unidentified armed group, as were four Congolese nationals traveling with them.
Guterres said the UN will conduct an inquiry, and expects Congolese authorities to conduct a full investigation. The United Nations will cooperate with the authorities in the continuing search for the missing Congolese, he said.