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As M23 Took Rutshuru in DRC, UN Says Copters Help Impede, $1.3B for What?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 9 -- The UN Mission in the Congo has a "protection of civilians" mandate, but apparently did very little when the M23 mutineers led by Bosco Ntaganda took over Rutshuru and, almost, Goma. This comes while, as noted, the MONUSCO mission costs $1.3 billion a year.

  Nor has it been clear what MONUSCO under former US Ambassador Roger Meece thinks of M23's claims, which date back to March 23, 2009.

  So on July 9 Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Eduardo DelBuey what, in fact, MONUSCO has been doing.

   He told Inner City Press to "ask DPKO." But since DPKO chief Herve Ladsous has said openly that, due to critical coverage, he will not answer any Inner City Press questions, starting with cholera in Haiti and Ban Ki-moon getting advice from alleged war criminal Sri Lanka general Shavendra Silva, even DelBuey must have realized this was a referral into the void (or, le neant).

  And so some minutes later came this UN answer, which we publish in full:

Subject: Your question on MONUSCO
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Mon, Jul 9, 2012
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at]

Regarding the protection of civilians in towns taken by M23, MONUSCO says that it has provided strategical operational planning and logistical support to the Congolese Armed Forces to help counter the offensive by the M23. The Mission’s armed helicopters have been used in terms of civilian protection with the intention of impeding the advance of the M23, in close coordination with the Congolese Armed Forces. The Mission is redeploying its assets to ensure it is present in key forward bases and is working closely with the Congolese Armed Forces regarding the protection of key population centres in North Kivu.

  Those UN helicopters don't seem to have had much effect. And the UN still hasn't answered Inner City Press' question from last week about the FARDC soldiers chased into Uganda and detained there.

  As noted, these developments in the Congo where the UN has a huge now controversial peacekeeping mission did not show up in any of Ban Ki-moon's read-outs with foreign minister in Toyko over the weekend, not even that of Pakistan which is the peacekeeping presence in South Kivu. Watch this site.

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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