28 March 2017

‘Deeply Saddened’ Secretary-General Confirms Discovery of Experts’ Remains, Urges Full Investigation while Pledging Cooperation in Search for Missing Congolese

The following statement by UN Secretary-General António Guterres was issued today:

I am deeply saddened to confirm that the remains discovered by peacekeepers from the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) on 27 March outside the city of Kananga in Kasaï-Central Province are those of Michael Sharp (United States) and Zaida Catalan (Sweden), members of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo missing since 12 March.  I convey my profound condolences to Michael’s and Zaida’s families, loved ones and colleagues.

Michael and Zaida lost their lives seeking to understand the causes of conflict and insecurity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in order to help bring peace to the country and its people.  We will honour their memory by continuing to support the invaluable work of the Group of Experts and the whole United Nations family in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It is our hope that the cause of their deaths will be determined following a more thorough examination.  I trust that the Congolese authorities will conduct a full investigation into this incident.  The United Nations will also conduct an inquiry.  In case of criminal acts, the United Nations will do everything possible to ensure that justice is done.

I urge the Congolese authorities to continue the search for the four Congolese nationals who accompanied our colleagues.  The United Nations will cooperate with the authorities in the continuing search.

For information media. Not an official record.