DR Congo arrests suspected murderers of 2 UN experts in Kasai


DR Congo arrests suspects in murder of 2 UN experts in Kasai. American Michael Sharp, Swedish national Zaida Catalan and their interpreter Betu Tshintela went missing on March 12 along with driver Isaac Kabuayi and two motorbike drivers in Central Kasai province while looking into recent large-scale violence and alleged human rights violations by the Congolese army and local militia groups.

Congo’s government promised to linvestigate the deaths of an American and a Swedish expert for the United Nations and their interpreter, whose bodies were found in a shallow grave after the team disappeared. Sweden said it was opening a murder investigation, and the U.N. Security Council strongly condemned the killings.

Recently, Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have announced the arrest of two suspects in connection with the death of two U.N. investigators in central Congo last month.

However, one of the suspects managed to escape from custody, the military’s top prosecutor further disclosed on Friday. Speaking in the capital Kinshasa, General Joseph Ponde told reporters that four police officers responsible for guarding the suspects had also been arrested following the escape. Reuters reports that the General referred to the suspect in custody, Daniel Mbayi Kabasele, as an “insurgent”

The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres had cause to condemn the murderers. The UN vowed to conduct an inquiry with Guterres saying the world body would do “everything possible” to bring justice in the case.

Since July 2016, large-scale violence has intensified in Central Kasai province and later spread to neighboring provinces. The uprising erupted after government forces in August killed a tribal chief and militia leader.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed and more than one million displaced since last August in central Congo’s Kasai region due to fighting between a local militia and security forces. The United Nations has identified at least 23 mass graves.

Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Joseph Kabila addresses the nation at Palais du Peuple in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, concerning the conflict.

In the main time, Congo has suspended its military cooperation with former colonial power Belgium in protest against criticism last week by Belgium’s foreign minister of President Joseph Kabila’s selection of a new prime minister, defense minister Crispin Atama Tabe told Reuters on Friday.

The move underlines growing tensions between Congo and international powers, who are pushing for an election by the end of the year to replace Kabila after he refused to step down when his constitutional mandate expired in December.

In addition, Belgian foreign minister Didier Reynders said the nomination of Bruno Tshibala violated the spirit of a December deal with the opposition to form an interim power-sharing government. Belgian defense ministry spokeswoman Laurence Mortier confirmed that Congo had informed Belgium of its intention to end the cooperation, which included around 30 Belgian military trainers in Congo who may be withdrawn as a result.

Congo president is working extremely hard to curb the killings in the area. He noted that the killing of the two UN officials is never a racial discrimination but that of the existing conflict in the community. He ensured that the murderers will be justly punished.

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