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On Burundi, After April 3 Cable on Youth-Wing Armed, Ladsous Stonewalled

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 9, updated twice, more here -- From Burundi on April 3, UN envoy Parfait Onanga-Anyanga sent three UN officials a confidential cable on "alleged distribution of weapons to the Imbonerakura," the CNDD-youth wing.

  Inner City Press has reliably confirmed the receipt of the cable and put it online here, while awaiting from the UN's top two spokespeople Stephane Dujarric and Farhan Haq an answer to these questions:

"this is a request that your Office confirm to Inner City Press as quickly as possible the receipt by USG Ladsous of an April 3 cable from Parfait Onanga-Anyanga at BNUB in Burundi concerning the alleged distribution of weapons to the Imbonerakure. Given the stakes, as well as the echo of Rwanda, please respond as quickly as possible, and also state what if anything USG Ladsous has done about it."

  The question were put formally because Ladsous, who received the cable as the chief of UN Peacekeeping, refused to answer Inner City Press' question about the Hutu militia FDLR on April 7, video here, and a separate question about allegations of gang rape by his peacekeepers on April 9, video forthcoming.

  In the interim another recipient, Jeffrey Feltman of the UN Department of Political Affairs, briefed the UN Security Council behind closed doors on April 8. When Council president for April Joy Ogwu of Nigeria came out to take questions afterward, only two media were there, including Inner City Press.

  Mary Robinson, the third of the recipients, wrote a piece for CNN online on April 8 -- not about Burundi and the cable she'd received as the UN's Dublin-based Great Lakes envoy, but on Irish President Michael D. Higgins' dinner with Queen Elizabeth.

  So how seriously does the UN take such allegations, even as its Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Kigali on April 7 offered apologies for the UN not having done more in 1994? We'll see. Watch this site.

Update: Later on April 9, UK Mission to the UN spokesperson Iona Thomas told Inner City Press, "I can confirm that Feltman raised this issue in the Council discussion on Burundi yesterday and members of the Council expressed their concern at the reports." But only behind closed doors? With no UN Security Council action? We'll have more on this.

Update II: at 6 pm UN spokesperson replied, but did not answer whether addressee Herve Ladsous got the cable, nor what if anything he did about it:

Subject: Re: Press Qs: Pls confirm Burundi April 3 cable (on alleged arming of Imbonerakure) to USG Ladsous received, what done?
From: Stephane Dujarric [at]
Date: Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 6:03 PM
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at]
Cc: FUNCA [at]

Matthew, the UN is closely monitoring the situation in Burundi. As you know, and would have seen, the Secretary-General raised this issue just a few days in ago when he met with the Vice President of Burundi in Kigali. The readout is here.


Stephane Dujarric (Mr.)
Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations Headquarters | Room: S-233 New York, NY, 10017

  But what about answering if USG Ladsous got it, and what if anything he did? Watch this site.


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