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Bodies of suspected UN workers discovered in DR Congo

Police on Tuesday confirmed the discovery of the bodies of two Europeans and one Congolese in the Central Kasai province in the area where two UN experts and four Congolese were kidnapped about two weeks ago.

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Michael and Zaida

Government spokesman Lambert Mende said in a statement on Tuesday that the police had confirmed the discovery of the bodies.

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Lambert Mende

’’Two Caucasian bodies, one male and one female, were found in Central Kasai. Tests will be made to conclusively identify the bodies,’’ he said.

Mende added that the bodies were probably of the missing UN experts because no other foreigners had been reported missing in that area.

Michael Sharp from the U.S., Zaida Catalan from Sweden and four Congolese nationals including a driver, an interpreter and two motorcycle transport operators were kidnapped by suspected Kamuina Nsapu militiamen on March 12 as they were reportedly investigating human rights abuses in the area.

DRC authorities had accused the UN workers of going to the area without notifying them, saying that if they had done so, they would have been provided with adequate security.

Authorities have tasked the police and the provincial commissioner of Central Kasai with ensuring the identifications of the two bodies and confirming whether they belong to any of the six missing people.

Kasai region has in the past few months experienced bloodshed brought about by clashes between police and Kamuina Nsapu militiamen.

In mid-February, over 50 suspected militiamen were killed by police in what human rights organizations said excessive force was used. The organizations called for investigations especially after the discovery of three mass graves in areas where the clashes took place.

Forty policemen were killed last Friday in an ambush by Kamuina Nsapu militiamen.

MJRuguudo

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