March 25 (UPI) -- The humanitarian group Human Rights Watch called on Congo's government to help locate a group of United Nations officials who went missing some two weeks ago.
The group said Michael Sharp, an American and Zaida Catalan, a Swede, were last seen on March 12 investigating human rights abuses near the remote village of Bunkonde, south of the provincial capital, Kananga. Also missing are a Congolese interpreter, a driver and two motorbike drivers.
"We are extremely worried about the missing U.N. team," said Ida Sawyer, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "The Congolese government should cooperate fully with the U.N. and other international investigators to do all they can to bring the team back safely."
The U.N. officials were on a peacekeeping mission, HRW said. On March 13, the Congolese government announced they had "fallen into the hands of unidentified negative forces," but have not provided more details.
This is the first recorded disappearance or abduction of international workers in the Kasai provinces and the first time U.N. experts have been reported missing in Congo, HRW said.