Crime & Investigation

M23 Rebels Demand In-depth Probe in UN Investigators’ Murder

Bisiimwa (L) with Makenga at a function in DRC  a few years ago

The M23 rebel movement has demanded a thorough investigation into the brutal execution of two UN investigators and their interpreter in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

An American, ambulance Michael Sharp, drug and a Swede, Zaida Catalan, who were probing violence and human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, served as members of the Group of Experts on the DRC and had been missing since March 12.

Sharp and Catalan had been studying the causes of conflict and insecurity in the DRC in order to help bring peace to the country and its people.

M23 said in a statement sent to ChimpReports on Friday that “by killing those innocent people, whose job was to help the population, is not only the access to people of that area that is threatened, but the whole UN community that was attacked.”

M23 political leader, Bertrand Bisiimwa said the Movement “reiterates that the demand for this horrendous and dreadful events of Kasai Central so that the perpetrators are brought before the book.”

Human rights groups all over the world have condemned the killings, saying it illuminates the growing insecurity in the war-torn country.

Many believe President Kabila’s security forces could have acted to stop the investigators from exposing mass graves reported in Beni.

Bisiimwa said “the similarity in operating mode between Beni’s atrocities and those perpetrated against UN victims is troubling and likely to lead to the perpetrator’s identity.”

He further cited sources as saying the UN victims had a working session with the region’s regular army’s officers to agree on which route to take.

“Some officers who were in command of the 8th Military Region in North Kivu at the horrible time of the beheading of innocent people in Beni are at the very top of the Military Region of Kasai Central,” he added.

Bisiimwa further stated UN should investigate “breathtaking revelations of social communication of Diocesan Commission of Kananga and the damning testimonies of some Kananga’s members of Parliament on the involvement of the regular army in the civilian population’s massacres.”

The UN last week said more than two dozen mass graves were discovered in three Kasai provinces and videos showing soldiers opening fire on militia men have gone viral on the internet.

The development comes against the backdrop of a failed presidential election exercise. President Kabila’s refusal to quit power has pushed the nation on the edge of a potential civil war.


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