Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

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

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

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


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

At UN, Ouattara's Bamba Says Month Too Long, Chad Too Far, Gbagbo Cut Lights

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 4 -- As the UN Security Council agreed on elements to the press deferring to the African Union's High Level Panel on Cote d'Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara's ambassador Yousoufou Bamba told Inner City Press that the AU outcoming “wasn't quite progress.”

Speaking exclusively to Inner City Press on the steps outside the Council chamber, Bamba said “one month is too long,” referring to the time given to the AU Panel. “It gives time to Gbagbo,” Bamba said.

Inner City Press asked about the inclusion by the AU on its panel of Idriss Deby of Chad. “Too far,” Bamba replied. He might have said the same of South Africa, which proposed the Council press statement.

In light of reports of water and electricity cut off to Abobo and other Ouattara strong holds, Inner City Press asked Bamba if he thought Gbagbo was behind them. Yes, he said, “and also to the North, every night. Doing so, let us say, he is losing his last support.”

UN's Ban Ki-moon and Bamba at swear-in, (c) MRLee

UN envoy Choi Young-jin had been billed for an on camera stakeout, but did not do it. Several UN correspondents complained.  Inner City Press rushed back from the UN noon briefing to find Mr. Choi speaking off camera to three reporters. While we will aim to have more on that, Inner City Press asked about the two journalists arrested after flying with the UN from Bouake to Abidjan.

Choi said they had landed and were in a taxi when arrested. Why was the UN flying them? Choi said the UN has been flying people for Gbagbo and Ouattara for some time. And still for Gbagbo? “If he asks,” said Choi.

Choi would not speak of the helicopters voted on by the Council two weeks ago, of which Inner City Press reported this morning that Ukraine's parliament has now approved. Bamba confirmed this. (The Brazilian President of the Council said it had not come up, when Inner City Press asked after the press statement.)

Of Choi, Bamba said he called the Prime Minister at 2 am while patrolling Abobo. Others say there will be a big Korean reception in New York, including Choi, when Ban Ki-moon returns. We'll see.

* * *

On Cote d'Ivoire at UN, S. Africa Proposes Elements on AU, Ukraine Copter Vote

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 4 -- As the UN Security Council met Friday about Cote d'Ivoire, the closed doors consultations left many questions hanging. After Inner City Press for three days asked the UN why the helicopters voted on by the Council on January 21 were still not in Abidjan, the reason became clear, not from the UN but Kiev.

  Ukraine just approved the shift of copters from Liberia to Ivory Coast - click here. Why didn't the UN just say that?

Inner City Press asked Alassane Ouattara's Ambassador Bamba about the two journalists, reportedly Forces Nouvelles affiliated, whom the UN transported on January 28 from Bouake to Abidjan, where they were arrested as rebels. I don't have anything on that, Ambassador Bamba said.

Another Ivorian Mission source called the case an “outrage” - but the UN and Choi Young-jin have yet to. Mr. Choi has said he will talk to the Press after the consultations.

A Permanent Five member's Permanent Representative emerged and told Inner City Press that South Africa is proposing a Council press statement (actually, elements to the press) in support of the African Union mediation including South African President Jacob Zuma. Another diplomat shook his head and said this would “make Gbagbo happy.”

Zuma & UN's Ban, recount of Gbagbo-Ouattara votes not yet shown

Following the Security Council's unceremonious ouster of the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General under Martin Nesirky, on Friday representatives of UNESCO and, it was said, UNICEF were told they could not even wait in the Quiet Room of the Council. Paranoia, one agency rep called it. And so it goes.

* * *

In Cote d'Ivoire, UN Silent on Copters & as Journalists Arrested After UN Flight

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 3 -- As the Cote d'Ivoire strategy of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his ONUCI envoy Choi Young-jin is described as unraveling, the ONUCI Mission and UN no longer answer basic questions. Inner City Press has asked about events on January 28, in which two journalists flown from Bouake to Abidjan on a UN plane were immediately arrested.

 UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq on February 3 said that “UNOCI has not comment on this,” and argued that the arrest did not take place in flight, but after landing. But if the UN can't even protect civilians or journalists the moment they get off a UN plane, how can they comply with their protection of civilians mandate?

Inner City Press had asked and is asking the UN to

please confirm or deny the UN's / ONUCI's awareness of the arrest below, please explain how journalists could be arrested while flying on a UN operated flight, and regarding the helicopters voted on by the Security Council more than two weeks ago, please state between whom the “discussions” in your response of yesterday are taking place, and on what topic. Also, what were these helicopters doing with UNMIL until until two weeks ago, and now? The reported arrests:

Sanogo and Charly left Bouaké for Abidjan at about 3 p.m. on 28 January aboard a flight operated by the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Côte d'Ivoire (ONUCI). They were arrested on their arrival at the Abidjan air base by members of the Defence and Security Forces (FDS).”

Also on January 28, UN peacekeepers engaged with “young people” with “moderate force.” Inner City Press since then has been asking the UN and its Department of Peacekeeping Operations how young these people where and what safeguards were in place -- without answer.

So on February 3, Inner City Press asked the UN's Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy about the incident, and what rules apply to UN peacekepers engaging with child soldiers or activists.

Ms. Coomaraswamy said she would call for the use of “minimal” force -- to be contrasts with the “moderate” force ONUCI says it used.

Mr. Choi & peacekeeper, copters, "young people" and arrested journalists not shown

But when Inner City Press asked Ms. Coomaraswamy if her office had been notified by ONUCI or DPKO about their engagement with “youth people,” she said no.

Also, with the helcopters voted on by the Security Council more than two weeks ago still no in Cote d'Ivoire, Inner City Press has asked, among other things, “Regarding the helicopters for Cote d'Ivoire / ONUCI voted on by the Security Council more than two weeks ago, please state between whom the “discussions” in your response of yesterday are taking place, and on what topic.” Watch this site.

* * *

At UN, Deal with Russia on Cote d'Ivoire Resolution Has Bamba Staying Silent, Speaks Afterwards to Inner City Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, January 19 -- As the UN Security Council on Wednesday morning belatedly adopted a resolution increasing UN forces and focus in Cote d'Ivoire, the new Alassane Ouattara appointed Ambassador Yousoufou Bamba sat at the Council table but did not speak.

On Tuesday, when the UN troops four week period ran out and the resolution was supposed to be adopted, arguments in the Council's closed door consultations focused on the procedural question of whether Ouattara's Ambassador Bamba could sit at the Council's horseshoe table, and if he could speak.

Russia opposed this, as well as demanding that the phrase “without prejudice to the freedom of expression” be added before a call to halt Radiodiffusion Television Ivoirienne (RFI) from “incit[ing] hatred and violence, including against the UN and particularly UNOCI.”

After Bamba sat in the meeting for the vote approving the amended resolution but did not speak, Inner City Press sent Bamba a text message asking for his reasons. He emerged from the Council and told Inner City Press, “I voluntarily chose not to speak, with the support of the African members, not to create a breach in the unity of the Council.”

Later it was explained to Inner City Press by the Permanent Representative of an African country not currently on the Council that it was mostly South Africa which implored Bamba not to speak, in order they said that the world not see that the Council is not, in fact, united.

Inner City Press asked Bamba about Russia's demand that “without prejudice to the freedom of expression” be added to the resolution. Bamba said that's “not to silence their side” -- seeming to say that the Gbagbo “side” is Russia's side.

After a pause, Bamba came back to tell Inner City Press that “on behalf of the Ouattara administration,” he appreciates the increase in UNOCI's “defensive force” - he pointed at the phrase about “three armed helicopters with crews from UNMIL” as he said this -- and the RTI paragraph and “especially,” he said “the lifting of the blockage of the Golf Hotel without delay.” We'll see.

 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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -