Will Not Act on Chad's Assault on Shadowy Rebels, Some Peacekeeping
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 4 -- When Chad claimed to have killed 105 rebels in a
fight last week, human rights groups were quick to point to the
incident as another reason the UN peacekeeping mission MINURCAT
should be allowed to stay.
with Chad's Ambassador Ahmad Allam-mi, Inner City Press asked UN
Spokesman Martin Nesirky what MINURCAT was going to do. "The
closest the MINURCAT is to that location where the reported clash has
taken place is about 150 kilomters. It's not related, clearly, to the
discussions abou the future of MINURCAT."
rights groups seem to believe that the UN peacekeeping mission could
be or even is doing something about this, it is not.
described the rebel group at issue, the Popular Front for National
Renaissance, as little more than gangsters, living in a heavily mined
area that the government barely controls. They work with the Lord's
Resistance Army, he told Inner City Press. They worked with the
forces of Bemba [now on trial for war crimes before the International
Criminal Court in The Hague.)
in novelistic fashion the career of PFNR leader Adoum Yacoub: he was
in London, he fought in South Sudan, he got a bullet in his stomach.
But where is the UN?
Chad's Allam-mi, MINURCAT jurisdiction not shown
April 30, 2010 transcript, Inner City Press' questions
City Press: There are these reports in Chad. The Chadian Government
claims to have killed 105 rebels near the Sudan border. I wonder what
the UN knows about this, and how it may or may not relate to MINURCAT
[United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad] or
other UN missions in the area, or has any comment on this reported
Nesirky: We can’t confirm the death toll in that fighting. And
the closest that MINURCAT is to that location where the reported
clash has taken place is about 150 kilometres away. It’s not
related, clearly, to the discussions about the future of MINURCAT.
I guess that, since MINURCAT does have this mandate of to some
degree protection of civilians, is it that it is geographically out
of MINURCAT’s zone or that it is viewed as being a military
conflict not affecting civilians?
I think it is simply geography and logistics rather than mandate
here. It’s just where they are located at the moment. It doesn’t
mean that they’re not trying to find out. They are trying to find
out what is going on. But at the moment they can’t confirm the
figure that you are saying now. We have seen the same reports. We
can’t confirm that. We have also seen the denial from the other
side. What we can say is that, clearly, the Mission would like to
know what is going on and is trying to do precisely that: to find
Just one follow-up on this. The Chadian ambassador was just telling
me that the area in which this took place is, has been for a long
time, heavily landmined by what he called this rebel group which he
alleges works with the LRA [Lord’s Resistance Army] and with the
forces that Mr. [Jean-Pierre] Bemba used to command in the Central
African Republic. So what I wonder is, given the UN’s overarching
… has the UN ever, maybe you’ll know this so you could, have they
ever done mine removal or mine action? What is the UN’s degree of
access to the geographical area that this is in? I wouldn’t
expect, if you can look into that …
Sure. Happy to do so.
later, there has been no additional information provided. Watch this
* * *
Deal Followed by Bombs, UN Silent, Chad Pollution
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 26 -- After Sudan's President al Bashir cut a deal
with the Justice and Equality Movement rebels, then began bombing the
remaining SLA rebels in South Darfurf, messages of congratulations
kept on rolling in. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed,
through his spokesman, the JEM and Bashir deal. Inner City Press
asked, but what about the bombs continuing to fall upon Darfur? Ban's
spokesman had no comment.
asked a permanent five Security Council Ambassador, do you think the
deal's a scam? The response first dealt with Chad and Sudan, the Deby
- Bashir peace deal that preceded the JEM deal. Maybe they both
realized it was in their interest to stop fighting, the Permanent
Representative said. Both are facing elections, Bashir in April and
Deby after that.
why is Deby
moving to throw out the UN mission? Deby "never wanted it,"
the Ambassador explained. Deby took offense when it was suggested he
wanted the UN out before he cooked his upcoming election. "MINURCAT
has no election watching mandate," Deby pointed out, as did his
UN Ambassador Allam-mi. A skeptic noted that even if it did, just
like Hamid Karzai, Deby need not worry.
Sudan show and tell of JEM weapons at Omdurman
Peacekeeper, Frenchman Alain Le Roy, is in Chad meeting with Deby.
The P-5 Ambassador said it cannot be all or nothing. The Mission was
supposed to leave in March 2011 anyway, the Perm Rep argued. What we
want is an organized withdrawal, say in nine months instead of three.
And Deby takes over all the infrastructure built there? But of
has been told, during the hand over from the European Union to the
UN, that France asked the UN to "indemnify" it for
pollution it caused, in Abeche and elsewhere. What is the purpose of
the UN and its blanket immunity, but to further shield of the P-5
from their own pollution? The UN did quietly agree to pay for much of
what it used for its mission in Eastern Chad. Watch this site.
* * *
Chad Says UN Destroys Airstrips, Logjam on Shakedown Street
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 17 -- In Chad, the "traffic" of the UN's
peacekeeping mission is "destroying our infrastructure,"
Chad's Ambassador to the UN Ahmad Allam-mi told the Press on
Wednesday. Inner City Press asked him about landing and other fees
that Chad's Idriss Deby government had been charging international
peacekeepers, and to respond to the idea that Deby's threat to throw
the UN out is just a ploy to get more money. Video here,
Allam-mi replied that there are "taxes for services rendered by
state companies." He called these a "royalty" and said
that "there is an agreement that we signed."
the UN, like
the European Union force before it, has never wanted to disclose how
much it agreed to pay Deby. Even at Wednesday's UN noon briefing,
when Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe, she
did not provide an answer, or even promise one in the future. Video here.
briefing, when the Security Council suspended their meeting on Chad
for a lunch break, Inner City Press asked top UN Peacekeeper Alain Le
Roy about the alleged "destruction" of Chad's
infrastructure, and whether the UN might now agree to pay more in
order to keep the MINURCAT mission in place.
there yet," Le Roy said. But are "we" getting
Inner City Press exclusively
covered a closed door meeting of Troop
Contributing Countries at which European countries with notable
exception of France, Chad's former colonial power, complained about
high landing fees charged by Deby. Click here
for that Inner City
the mission was
handed over from the European Union to the UN, it was said, Deby
tried to charge the UN for infrastructure built by the EU. Now,
informed sources say, Deby is at it again.
UN's Ban and Deby, payments for MINURCAT not shown
groups are demanding that MINURCAT stay in place to protect their
operations and civilians. As top UN Humanitarian John Holmes told the
Press on Wednesday, while some NGOs won't accept escorts from armed
peacekeepers, others do.
asked Holmes if it would be possible to keep the mission in the
Central African Republic, which it also serves, even if Chad kicks it
out. No, Holmes answered. It would have to be a separate mission. He
said he thinks the Central African Republic wants to keep the UN
Deby's gambit results in higher payments from the UN, the Central
African Republic and other hosts of peacekeeping missions would be
foolish not to also try the shakedown. Watch this site.
in mid 2008 when Inner City Press and other UN correspondents
accompanied the Security Council to Chad and elsewhere in Africa,
Deby skipped a scheduled meeting with the Council. Many questioned
why Deby would rebuff France, whose then Ambassador Jean Maurice
Ripert was in charge of the Chad leg of the trip. Sources tell Inner
City Press that Deby was four sheets to the wind, en flight back from
briefing, Ambassador Ahmad Allam-mi told Inner City Press, you try to
get me in trouble by quoting my president to me. But President Deby,
it appears, contains multitudes.
conference was stopped for two minutes as the headphones for
translation did not work. Video here, from Minute 25:53. Echoes
of French Ambassador Gerard Araud's melt down at the beginning of
February when the translation headsets weren't available. He demanded
to konw, where are the helmets? Now some question, as Chad shakes down
the UN as it did the EU, where is France?