On March 28 the United Nations News Center announced the discovery of a shallow grave containing the remains of two UN experts and their interpreter. The remains found were those of Michael Sharp, 34, a US citizen and Zaida Catalan, 37, a Swedish citizen. A third body was found in the same location which was discovered to be Betu Tshintela, their Congolese interpreter. The pair reportedly went missing on March 12, close to Moyo River and the town of Tshimbulu.

Michael Sharp's grateful for support

The International Business Times quotes Texas resident John Sharp, the father of Michael Sharp, as thanking everyone on his Facebook page for their support and paying tribute to his late son.

He said it was difficult to find words, except to thank everyone for their support. He hoped that in time the words would come.

Mass graves in the DRC

Reportedly Michael worked with his colleague, Catalan, as a coordinator with the United Nations Group of Experts for Congo. They had traveled to the troubled Kasai-Central region of the county to investigate the summary executions of Congolese citizens and had themselves uncovered mass graves in the region. it was after this discovery that the two United Nations experts and their translator were kidnapped, along with three locally based drivers.

Swedish Prime Minister expressed sorrow

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of Sweden issued a statement on March 29, expressing sorrow and dismay at the murder of Catalan.

He stated that Catalan was employed as a humanitarian expert and was in the DRC to strengthen peace in the region. Löfven said that task is “crucial” in efforts to create greater security in the DRC and to inspire hope in a country that has long suffered destruction and violence. He added that Catalan had been working tirelessly in her role with the United Nations and had risked her life to save others.

Löfven then went on to share the sense of despair and loss with Catalan’s family and friends saying, it was important to find out exactly what happened to Catalan and her colleagues as well as other people affected by the violence. Sweden pledged the country is ready to investigate the incident and to help in holding those responsible accountable for their actions.

The United Nations News Center quoted Secretary General António Guterres as saying on March 29 that the UN vows to do “everything possible” to obtain justice in the murder of the two experts and their Congolese interpreter. He went on to confirm that the UN will be conducting an official inquiry into the killing.