2 suspects face trial soon in deaths of UN experts in Congo

Michael J. Sharp visits with Elizabeth Namavu and children in Mubimbi Camp, one of the camps for displaced people in eastern Congo. (Courtesy: Jana Asenbrennerova, MCC)

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) – Authorities in Congo say two suspects soon will face trial in the gruesome killings of two United Nations experts and their interpreter.

The bodies of American Michael Sharp, Swedish national Zaida Catalan and colleague Betu Tshintela were found in March after they went missing while investigating human rights abuses.

The Congolese government later obtained a cell phone video showing them being killed. It blamed members of the Kamwina Nsapu militia that is active in central Congo’s Kasai provinces. At least 400 people have died in the region since August.

Military prosecutor Col. Odon Makutu Mwendele said Saturday two of the 16 suspects will face trial on war crimes charges including murder and mutilation. They also face charges of terrorism and supporting a rebel group.

There was no immediate Swedish response.