UN Leaves Civilians Outside Congo Bases,
Peacekeepers are Absent, Kerim Is In Kinshasa
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
November 18 -- The UN admitted on
Tuesday that it blocks civilians fleeing gunfire from entering the UN's
in the Congo. Inner City Press asked the UN's Special Representative in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo Alan Doss about
reports that in Rwindi, some 150 civilians were left outside the UN
bombs fells around them. Doss said he'd heard that, and that similar
taken place in Rutshuru and Tonga, due to UN bases being "too small"
to accommodate civilians, even those fleeing active fire-fights. Video here,
from Minute 36:14.
this has echoes of Rwanda, in which a much smaller UN force stood by
civilians were hacked and shot to death outside UN bases. More recently
Abyei in Sudan, it is alleged that civilians were blocked from entering
base even as their town was burned down. Doss said nothing can be done,
bases are too small and there are guns inside. But what then does the
Mission's mandate to protect civilians mean?
Press also asked about a nagging discrepancy between Doss' and others'
statements that there are 17,000 UN peacekeepers in the Congo, and the
military coordinator's briefing to Security Council Ambassadors, that
number is 15,500. Doss said that there are always rotations and
absences. Some wondered, absences during a
There are complaints
by Congolese authorities in Ituri region that Uganda has set up
for historically Uganda-aligned rebel Peter Kerim
a/k/a Karim, who sought to overthrow
Joseph Kabila until he was offered a position in Kabila's army.
UN's Doss welcomed to N. Kivu, echoes of Rwanda not
Inner City Press asked Doss if he could
confirm or deny the reports, and where Kerim now was. "In Kinshasa,"
Doss said, taking the information from a UN military staffer left
was brought in under some pretext," Doss said, and
did not go "back to Ituri." Apparently he is not really serving with
the Congo army either. Just as there was a warlord in the Waldorf --
for that Inner City Press story -- now there is a warlord, Kerim,
who killed UN
peacekeepers, cooling his heals in Kinshasa. We will continue to follow
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
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