Kananga, DR Congo | AFP | A DR Congo army officer suspected of involvement in the 2017 murder of two UN experts has been arrested by a military tribunal trying the case, the prosecutor said Friday.
“Colonel Jean de Dieu Mambweni was arrested Thursday on suspicion of having prepared the mission that led to the murder of two UN experts and their Congolese assistants,” said Colonel Jean Maurice Lianja, the military prosecutor in Kananga.
The killings took place in March 2017 in the restive central Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The victims were Zaida Catalan, a Swedish woman of Chilean origin, and American Michael Sharp, who were killed by “terrorist” militiamen, according to Congolese authorities.
They were investigating violence in Kasai for the UN Security Council.
The suspect Mambweni was allegedly heard on a recorded message speaking with a woman believed to have been Catalan who wanted him to set up contact with family members of Kamuina Nsapu, a militia chief killed by security forces during a operation to put down a rebellion against the Kinshasa government.
Defence lawyers have asked for three officers to appear as witnesses at the next hearing, as well as Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, who is a candidate for DRC president in the December 23 election and was interior minister at the time of the killings.
A recent investigation in the international media based on thousands of pages of confidential UN documents spoke about an alleged role by state agents in the murder of the two experts