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On Burundi, ICP Asks Italy Of Its Training of Nkurunziza's Police for CAR

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 8 -- Nineteen days after the UN Security Council, the United States and the UN Peacebuilding Configuration on Burundi on May 15 issued statements urging calm in the country given the return of Pierre Nkurunziza to presumably run for a third term, on May 29 Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric about UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous accepting an allegedly abusive Burundian police officer Godefroid Bizmama into his MINUSMA mission in Mali. Video here, and embedded below.

  Early on June 8, based on more information from Inner City Press' sources in Burundi, Inner City Press asked Italy's Mission to the UN:

"In covering the crisis in Burundi, multiple sources there have informed Inner City Press that a Burundian police officer named Jérôme NTIBIBOGORA, implicated in the crackdown in Bujumbura, is now set to be deployed to the UN Peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA -- but only after he is “trained” by / in Italy.

"This a Press request for your Mission to confirm or deny that Jérôme NTIBIBOGORA / NTIBIBOGORA Jérôme or any other Burundian police or military personnel involved in putting down protests to Pierre Nkurunziza's attempted third term is scheduled or considered for training or any preparatory work in Italy prior to a deployment with UN Peacekeeping.

"For your information in responding on deadline to this, Inner City Press' sources in Burundi said that Jérôme NTIBIBOGORA / NTIBIBOGORA Jérôme has so far been involved in at least two recent troubling incidents: killings at the hospital of BUMEREC (in Bujumbura) on May 14, 2015 and firing live ammunition at unarmed protesters on June 5, 2015, resulting in the death of a protester named Theogène who was a student at University of Burundi. Overall, what due diligence does Italy do in its work with UN Peacekeeping?"

  The UN Mission of Italy, running for a seat on the UN Security Council against Sweden and the Netherlands, answered also on the morning of June 8:

"Dear Mr. Lee, while at this stage I do not have any information on specific officers from Burundi, I can nevertheless confirm that any training activity by the COESPU (Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units) in Vicenza, Italy, with officers from that country, is currently on hold, due to the ongoing situation in Burundi.
Giovanni Davoli, Spokesperson, Italian Mission to the UN"

  It's appreciated. But are there Burundian officers "in the pipeline"?  We'll have more on this.

  On June 4, with the UN still insisting Bizimana doesn't work with them -- yet -- Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued this statement:

"The Secretary-General remains concerned about the potential for violence in Burundi to escalate further.  He reiterates his call for calm and restraint.

"The Secretary-General urges the Burundian authorities to abide by their international commitments with respect to human rights, including the right to peaceful assembly. He calls on the authorities to ensure that the security forces avoid the use of excessive force in handling demonstrations.  He stresses that those responsible for ordering or committing human rights violations will be held accountable.  He notes that the Security Council intends to consider the various tools at its disposal to safeguard peace in Burundi and ensure accountability.

"The Secretary-General encourages Burundian stakeholders to resume in earnest the consultative political dialogue facilitated by his Special Envoy, Said Djinnit. He hopes the parties to the dialogue will implement, without delay, the confidence-building measures already agreed.

"The Secretary-General continues to engage with regional and other leaders on the political crisis in Burundi.   He welcomes the Communiqué of the 31 May Summit of the East African Community (EAC), and urges the swift implementation of measures to help create the conditions for the holding of peaceful, inclusive and credible elections in Burundi, such as the disarmament of all armed youth groups affiliated with  political parties."

  Three days later on June 1, having no response from the UN, Inner City Press asked Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq again. He said that UN Peacekeeping, run by Herve Ladsous, said there is no officer Godefroid Bizimana with the UN.

  But is he on his way? Inner City Press has seen and Tweeted the Burundi government letter referring him for a D-1 post in Ladsous' mission in Mali, MINUSMA. Where is the "due diligence," which is cited by Ladsous to NOT fight the FDLR militia in Rwanda?

  On June 3, Inner City Press asked Dujarric again. Video here. This time, Dujarric said anyone can apply through the UN's Inspira system. But this is a letter from the government of Burundi. Dujarric insisted, lets just see who gets the job. So much for due diligence?

Nor was an Inner City Press question to the UN about the impact of the situation in Burundi on its troops in Somalia answered. We will continue to ask.


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