Congo envoy says 11 new arrests in killing of 2 UN experts

Investigations into the killing of two U.N. experts have led to 11 new arrests, including eight people identified as "having played a direct role" in the murders, Congo's ambassador to the United Nations said Tuesday.

Ambassador Ignace Gata Mavita assured the U.N. Security Council that "justice will be delivered" for the two experts and for the four Congolese men accompanying them, whose bodies have never been found.

Congolese authorities said in late May that they had 16 suspects in the March deaths of American Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan of Sweden in the violence-torn Kasai region.

Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe Mwamba said in June that four people had been arrested who were considered "the principal actors."

The U.N. is conducting an inquiry, but U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last month to initiate a special investigation into the killings.

Swedish Ambassador Olof Skoog told the council Tuesday that an additional U.N. investigation is an option to further support national investigations in establishing the truth of what happened and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Sharp and Catalan went missing while investigating human rights abuses in Congo. Their bodies were found in a shallow grave.

The Congolese government later obtained a cellphone video showing them being killed. The government blamed members of the Kamwina Nsapu militia.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix said the world body has been providing "quite detailed information" on the case to Congolese authorities.

"This question is absolutely a top priority, and we will continue to pursue very, very actively our efforts so that all those responsible for the murders of our two colleagues will be held accountable," he said.