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UN In Denial as Congolese Army Works With Paramilitaries, Angolans, Let Them Eat Soap

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, November 7 -- As the presidents of both Congo and Rwanda blame the UN for deaths in Eastern Congo, in New York UN Peacekeeping's Deputy Edmond Mulet acknowledged reports of the Congolese Army, which the UN backs, is working with the formerly genocidal Hutu rebels of the FDLR. "It is up to Kinshasa to solve it," Mullet said. But is that an adequate answer?

  When the UN sends 17,000 troops into a country, and supports an army made up of former rebels accused of killing civilians, the UN bears some duty to either clean up the local army or stop supporting it. In this case, the UN has admitted that the Congolese Army, the FARDC, not only fled in the face of rebel General Laurent Nkunda's forces, but looted and raped and killed civilians as they fled.

   Inner City Press on Friday asked Mulet about reports that at least two peacekeepers were shot, allegedly by their ostensible partners or beneficiaries, the Congolese Army. Mullet down played the injured list to one, and said it couldn't be determined who had shot the peacekeeper. Video here, from Minute 11:30. Convenient, said one wag.

DPKO's Le Roy and Doss tour Goma, FDLR and jerry cans not shown

  Likewise, when asked about reports of Angolan troops assisting Kabila's FARDC, Mulet answered that some Congolese troops had been trained in Angola, and so might have done back speaking Portuguese. But a story from the field quotes both a UN official and a Uruguayan peacekeepers about seeing the Angolans. If the UN saw something, would the UN say something?

  Earlier in the week, Inner City Press asked about reports of UN trucks arriving in starving village and throwing into the crowd not food, but soup and plastic jerry cans. "It was just an assessment mission," the Spokesperson responded. But why then the plastic jugs and soap? After spending $2 billion a year in the Congo, the UN should be able to do better than this.

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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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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