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On Abyei, Still No Answers from Ladsous, In S. Sudan, Reporter Out on Bail

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 8 -- For the last three days at the UN, Inner City Press has asked about the deadly attack in Abyei which killed a UN Peacekeeper and the Ngok Dinka paramount chief.

  UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous flatly refused to answer Inner City Press' question of if his UNISFA mission gave notification of the travel of the convoy that got attacked.

  On Wednesday, after another UN Peacekeeper was killed in Eastern Congo while four were taken hostage in the Golan Heights, Inner City Press again asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky about Abyei:

Inner City Press: On the Abyei incident, there are some questions pending, and I guess if there is ever an answer, maybe it will be provided, but I wanted to ask a separate question. I have spoken to people who say that what happened is that there was four, a, a nearly four-hour standoff and that, that UNISFA [United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei] troops, more of them arrived and surrounded the Misseriya who were in turn surrounding the convoy. So, what the question is, is what happened with the Misseriya. The Sudanese side said several were killed and many were injured; were any of them taken [into custody], were any of them questioned, does the, what did UNISFA did with the Misseriya that they had surrounded as they surrounded the convoy; what was the outcome other than that, you know, the, the tragedy, the death of the peacekeepers and of the Paramount Chief, what was the outcome of this incident, and did UNISFA question anybody?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, I think we did say at the time that in addition, two Ethiopian peacekeepers were seriously wounded, and one of the assailants was wounded also. And that all three were treated, taken for treatment, and subsequently, as I understand it, that wounded assailant was handed over to the authorities. I donít have any further details. I think I have already said that we donít have any details on casualties beyond this one amongst the Misseriya assailants. If we have anything further, then, obviously, I will update you. I donít have anything else at the moment, Matthew.

Inner City Press: do you expect there to be some kind of report? And I say it because there are some concerns, without disrespecting, whether there were enough people, and basically how the Misseriya knew of this travel. So, there is some, I am just wondering whether DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations] is going to end up either at a stakeout or in some other forum saying here is what we believe happened in this incident.

Spokesperson: I am sure that as with any incident of this nature, it is being investigated and there will be some kind of report. Whether that is made public of not, I cannot say at this stage. But, I am sure that my colleagues in Peacekeeping Operations will be able to provide some details once they have that in hand. I donít have that to hand right now.

So when will Ladsous, who has been described as Missing in Action, make himself available?

Later on Wednesday, the following arrived, in response to a question Inner City Press asked in writing over the weekend:

Subject: Your query on Michael Koma.
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at] un.org
Date: Wed, May 8, 2013 at 2:01 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at] innercitypress.com

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was informed by the Public Prosecutor of the Northern Police Division in Juba that the journalist Michael Koma was released on bail on 5 May.

UNMISS will continue its investigation to ascertain the facts and understand the reasons for the detention of Mr. Koma.

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