UN to conduct inquiry into deaths of DRC experts

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres. UN File Photo/Rick Bajornas

The United Nations has confirmed the deaths of two members of a Security Council expert group who had been missing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for more than two weeks.

Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalán, accompanied by four Congolese nationals, were in the Kasaï Central region when they disappeared on 12 March.

Their remains were discovered on Monday by peacekeepers with the UN mission in the country, MONUSCO.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Sharp, an American, and Ms Catalán, who was from Sweden, were members of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a statement on Tuesday evening saying he was deeply saddened to confirm their deaths.

The UN chief urged the Congolese authorities to continue the search for the four missing nationals.

"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," he said. "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."

Mr Guterres expressed hope that the Congolese authorities will conduct a full investigation into the incident.

The Secretary-General said the UN will also launch an inquiry, adding that "in case of criminal acts, the United Nations will do everything to ensure that justice is done."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

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