Bodies of 2 UN experts, interpreter found in Congo

Posted: Updated:
Michael J. Sharp visits with Elizabeth Namavu and children in Mubimbi Camp, one of the camps for displaced people in eastern Congo. Courtesy Mennonite Central Committee Michael J. Sharp visits with Elizabeth Namavu and children in Mubimbi Camp, one of the camps for displaced people in eastern Congo. Courtesy Mennonite Central Committee
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) -

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the world body will conduct an inquiry into the deaths of two U.N. experts whose bodies have been found in Congo.

Guterres says in a Tuesday statement that the cause of death for Michael Sharp of the United States, who has relatives in Kansas, and Zaida Catalan of Sweden hasn't yet been determined.

The two and interpreter Betu Tshintela had vanished March 12 with their drivers in Congo's Central Kasai province. The experts were looking into recent violence there.

The bodies of the three were found Monday. Congolese authorities say their identities were confirmed Tuesday.

Guterres says the experts "lost their lives seeking to understand the causes of conflict and insecurity" in Congo, so as to help bring peace to its people.
KAKE News


Previous story:

Congolese authorities say the bodies of an American and a Swedish U.N. expert and their interpreter have been found in the Central Kasai region where they recently disappeared. The U.S. expert has relatives in Kansas.

Police inspector general Charles Bisengimana said Tuesday the bodies of the two U.N. experts were identified after being found Monday.

Government spokesman Lambert Mende says tests confirm the bodies are the experts and their local interpreter.

Man with Kansas ties kidnapped in Congo

Michael Sharp of the U.S., Zaida Catalan of Sweden and interpreter Betu Tshintela disappeared March 12 with their drivers while looking into alleged human rights violations by the army and local militia groups. Sharp's parents live in Hesston.


Previous story:

Congo's government says the bodies of two Caucasians and a Congolese have been found in the Central Kasai region where two U.N. experts and their colleagues recently disappeared. One of the people who went missing has ties to Kansas.

Government spokesman Lambert Mende told Top Congo FM on Tuesday that national police confirmed the discovery of the male and female Caucasians and one Congolese.

The finding raises fears about the two U.N. experts and four Congolese who went missing two weeks ago.

Mende says the government knows no other foreigners missing in the region, but the provincial commissioner still must identify the bodies.

Michael Sharp, whose parents live in Hesston, Kansas, Zaida Catalan of Sweden, interpreter Betu Tshintela, driver Isaac Kabuayi and two motorbike drivers went missing March 12 while looking into alleged human rights violations by the army and local militia groups.

Sharp's father, John, posted the following statement on Facebook:

Dear friends,
This is a message I hoped never to write. We have been informed that two Caucasian bodies have been found in shallow graves in the search area, one male and one female. 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. Dental records and DNA samples will be used to confirm the identities. This will take some time.
 

KAKE News contributed to this report.
 

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE