By Godfrey Olukya
ARU, Democratic Republic of Congo
Efforts intensified Saturday to find two UN workers and four Congolese who were kidnapped a week ago in Kasai central province, said UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) and Congolese officials.
The six kidnapped people -- including U.S. citizen Michael Sharp, Swedish citizen Zahida Katalin, and four Congolese -- have been missing since March 12.
'We have increased our efforts to rescue the kidnapped UN workers and four natives. We have increased the number of troops looking for them,'' Lt. Andrew Kayembe, Kasai region army spokesman, told Anadolu Agency Saturday.
A statement by the UN mission in the DRC said the search has been intensified by MONUSCO troops on land and air patrol.
Kasai has recently been hit by clashes between Kamuina Nsapu militiamen and police which caused the death of over 100 people.
Recently, three massive graves have been discovered by the army in that province.
DRC spokesman Lambert Mende said they were investigating the kidnapping while criticizing the UN for not telling the government about the presence of the two UN workers and their activities.
“It's not normal for people to come here and start moving around like this,” Mende said in a statement. “If the government had been informed of the activities of these officials, perhaps they would have had an escort for their safety.”