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UN peacekeepers disappear without trace in crisis

Story from: CAJ News Africa

UN peaceforceFrom JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – THERE is no trace of two United Nations experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and four support staff that disappeared last weekend in the volatile central African country.
UN experts Michael Sharp (American) and Zaida Catalán (Swedish) are missing.
They were last seen in the Kasai Central Province, which is enduring a crisis perpetrated by rebel groups and resulted in deadly clashes between the militants and the Armed Forces of the DRC.
Former colonial master, Belgium, pointed out their disappearance was a serious blow to the efforts of the international community to bring back peace and stability in the country also beset by political tensions.
The European country called on Congo to use “all possible means” to rescue the victims.
“Belgium is deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation in the DRC, particularly in the Kasai region,” a foreign affairs spokesperson said.
The UN mission in the DRC (Monusco) on Sunday expressed concern at the renewed violence in Kananga, disclosing reports of high numbers of deaths in the context of clashes between slain tribal leader Kamwina Nsapu militiamen and members of the Congolese security forces.
Scores of civilians have been killed in recent days as the army and militants clashed.
Maman Sambo Sidikou, UN special representative of in DRC, called for investigations into upheavals in Kananga and Kasai.
“Those found responsible for any human rights violations must be held fully accountable,” said Sidikou.

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