American Abducted in Democratic Republic of Congo

Michael Sharp was working for the UN when he was taken Sunday
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2017 3:32 PM CDT

(Newser) – A 34-year-old American UN worker was abducted Sunday in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is currently missing, Al Jazeera reports. According to NBC News, Michael Sharp was traveling through the African nation on motorcycle with a group that included another UN worker, three local drivers, and a translator. All six were taken by what the Congolese government is calling "negative forces not yet identified." Multiple militias operate in the area. "They were surprised, confronted, and taken," Sharp's father says. Sharp and Zaida Catalan were part of a group of UN experts studying conflicts between militias and armed groups. A spokesperson says the UN is "doing all that is possible" to find them.

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Sharp has been working in the DRC for about six years. As a Mennonite mission worker, he negotiated the release of child soldiers. After joining the UN, he worked with the generals of local militias—his mother, Michelle Miller Sharp, tells The Kansan he "built a trust" with them. Miller Sharp says she doesn't know if her son is alive, but she wants to know that everything is being done to rescue him and the others if he is. "It would be very ironic for all the things that (Michael) has worked for in his young life if this were to end in violent means," she says. The State Department says it's keeping an eye on the situation. (Read more Democratic Republic of Congo stories.)

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