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As UN Leaves Central African Town of Birao, Rebels Oust Civilians, UN Has No Answers

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 26, updated below -- When Chad make it clear it wanted the UN's MINURCAT peacekeeping mission to leave its territory by November 30, there was some discussion of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations maintaining some of the Central African Republic presence of the MINURCAT force.

  “It would have to be re-named,” Inner City Press was told. It was never down, and the UN peacekeepers turned over the town of Birao to the Central African Republic armed forces (FACA) two weeks early, on November 15.

  Days later, the town fell to rebels of the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace, with numerous soldiers killed and civilians chased out of town and into the bush.

  On the morning of November 26, Inner City Press on deadline was the Office of the Spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (OSSG) these questions:

does the UN acknowledge that its November 15 handoff of Birao in CAR led quickly to a rebel takeover? How many have been displaced? What advance planning did the UN do? What is being done now?”

The OSSG had decided to cancel its normal noon press briefing on November 26, a UN work day, but said that it would answer questions. But as 6 pm passed in New York City and the UN grew dark, no answer at all had been provided to the above questions.

The CAR is one of the most neglected countries in the world, now by the UN as well.

An earlier presence in Birao, continuity not shown

Update of 7:58 pm -- two hours after publication of the above, and ten hours after the question on deadline was asked, the OSSG issued the following:

Subject: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the recent rebel attack on Birao in the Central African Republic
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply
Date: 2010/11/26

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General on the recent rebel attack on Birao in the Central African Republic

The Secretary-General condemns the recent attack on the town of Birao in the North-East of the Central African Republic by rebels of the “Convention des patriotes pour la justice et la paix” (CPJP), less than two weeks after the handing over of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) camps to the national authorities.

The Secretary-General calls on all concerned to exercise maximum restraint to ensure the safety of civilians, as efforts are being made by the national authorities to restore normalcy, and ensure peace and reconciliation among all the parties concerned.

The Secretary-General also reiterates his call on the international community, including the Central African Republic’s bilateral partners, to assist the national authorities in building the capacity of the national defense forces, in order to strengthen State authority throughout the country.

New York, 26 November 2010

   Back in September 2010, before a UN "high level" event about CAR, Inner City Press made inquiries about the UN's problems with nepotism and even the hiring of mercenaries appear not to have been solved.

In late 2009, Inner City Press had asked Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde, Special Representative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Head of the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA) about a series of BONUCA hires of relatives of the head of the UN Department of Political Affairs Africa II Division, Sammy Buo. She said she would look into it, take action and report back.

Nine months later, having heard nothing from her or about any changes, Inner City Press asked her for an update. “I don't want to speak about the past,” she said.

Inner City Press asked, “But are the individuals, including the former employee of the Executive Outcomes private military firm, still employed by the UN in the CAR?” She would not answer.

How can the UN credibly preach transparency and anti-corruption if these are its practices?

Inner City Press asked the World Bank's representative for the region about the Bank's and IMF's freezing of work with the Bank of Central African States. She acknowledged the freeze, but said that the CAR hadn't been hurt. If true, what does this way about the Bank of Central African States' work?

Finally, Inner City Press asked Jan Grauls, Permanent Representative of Belgium,about the World Food Program's recent call for $15 million to feed 600,000 people in CAR. Ambassador Grauls distinguish humanitarian aid from the peacebuilding funds he has been raising, but said that agriculture is among the best way to disarm former rebels. We have another question in and with Ambassador Grauls; watch this site.

UN's Ban and Ms. Zewde, action on nepotism in CAR not shown

Inner City Press formally asked the director of DPA's Africa II Division Sammy Kum Buo the following questions:

Mr. Buo -- I am writing a story about this morning's Security Council session on BONUCA / Central African Republic. I am also covering management issues in BONUCA and DPA and am writing for you to confirm or deny on deadline each of the following [about BONUCA staffers]

Is Gabriel Buh Kang a relative of yours? A cousin?

Is BONUCA staffer Ekei a relative of yours? Your niece?

What is the status of Brindou Germain Kabran ?

When in CAR, have you stayed with Brindou Germain Kabran?

Did you still collect DSA? Please provide records.

What can you say about the case of Gozo Tshamala?

On deadline, Matthew

   Mr. Buo is also accused of hiring a former mercenary from Executive Outcomes, in violation of UN rules. While Mr. Buo has refused to respond, Inner City Press has discussed the matter with other Mission officials and finally, on December 21, with Mr. Buo's boss in DPA, Haile Menkerios. Mr. Menkerios confirmed he is aware of the issue. Inner City Press asked Mr. Menkerios what DPA's response would be. It is a management issue, Mr. Menkerios replied, that will be responded to in a management way.

  But has it been?


Subject: BINUCA

From: Name withheld due to retaliation concerns

To: matthew.Lee [at]

Dear Matthew Please innercity should absolutely look into this matter which is serious WHAT IS GOING ON IN BONUCA/BINUCA?

DPA has created a new mission called BINUCA to replace BONUCA starting January 2010 in Central Africa Republic. For more than 9 years, BONUCA a DPA led mission was plagued with nepotism and favoritism... Of particular importance is the role played by Mr Sammy Kum Buo, the Director of Africa II, very famous with his absence of political judgment (remember Rwanda where he was advising the SRSG Booh Booh) who had succeeded in appointing a niece called Ekei as Administrative Assistant, a cousin called Gabriel Buh Kang in the finance section... the recruitment of the security Officer, Antonio de Jesus a former memeber of Executive Outcome was done in violation of all the recruitment rule procedures. Buo is trying to maintain in the mission his friend Brindou Germain Kabran where he lives when he is mission in CAR despite he, receiving the DSA.. His fellow Cameroonian... Marie Claire Bikia, recruited as administrative Assistant, is trying to be promoted Gender assistant. She went several times in Turin for gender training.

In order to cover this integrity issues, Sammy Kum Buo with the support of or not of Lynn Pascoe is currently deciding on the future of the staffs by trying to impress upon the new SRSG, the Ethiopian diplomat, Ms Zewde who is in her first experience in the UN and doesn't know the administrative procedure. Sammy Kum Buo would like to keep his cousin, niece and friends and sacrifying the other staffs. This is UNACCEPTABLE Inner city press should try to raised this issue

  Consider it done, or started. Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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