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After UN Peacekeepers Protested & Injured in Congo, Ladsous Refuses to Explain

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 14 -- So who shot between seven and 11 UN peacekeepers from Pakistan in the Congo, and why? The UN Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous was summoned to brief the Security Council Monday afternoon, but afterward unlike his predecessors did not do a stakeout or speak to the press.

  Pakistan's delegation, members of the Council for this year and next, told Inner City Press that some of the peacekeepers have been taken to South Africa from treatment. Others added that while put in a bad situation, the Pakistani soldiers showed restraint.

   So who put them in a bad situation?

  More than six hours before Ladsous against refused to speak, the UN spokesman said that

seven peacekeepers were wounded in the Bunyiakiri area of South Kivu on Monday. The seven peacekeepers sustained bullet wounds. A number of other peacekeepers were also injured after being hit by stones when a group of some 1,000 people surrounded a base belonging to the Mission in the area. The people were reportedly protesting against attacks by the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) in the area. The Mission says elements of the Mayi-Mayi group, Rai Mutomboki, an armed self-defence group, may have been part of the protest and may have fired on the peacekeepers.

  More detailed reports say that those in the villages attacked by the FDLR blamed the UN Peacekeepers for not protecting them. Inner City Press asked this month's Council President, the Ambassador of Azerbaijan about this, but he said he had no information beyond the press statement he read out.

  In the past, until now dis-elected Nicolas Sarkozy imposed Ladsous on the UN to replace Alain Le Roy, the chiefs of peacekeeping were the ones to take questions and explain DPKO's work.

  With Ladsous refusing to, some hope he'll be replaced by Francois Hollande, if nothing else because of his role as chief of staff to Sarkozy's scandal plagued foreign minister Michele Alliot Marie, who took flights from cronies of Tunisia's Ban Ali.

  There's also the matter of Herve Ladsous' pitch for the UN to start using drones, made behind closed doors to the C-34 Committee, members of which complain Ladsous already has French firm Thales on stand-by.

  DPKO military adviser Babicar Gaye did answer a press question, sort of, blaming it on "local dynamics." But did MONUSCO under Roger Meece have the right terms of engagement for Pakistan's battalion? And this chief of DPKO can't or won't answer it, we need a new one. 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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