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Were UN Deaths in S Sudan Linked To Lack of APCs, Ladsous Mismanagement?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 14 -- What about the mis-management of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations by its fourth French chief in a row Herve Ladsous, in this case at the UN Mission in South Sudan? In December an UNMISS helicopter was shot down by the government, killing the four Russian pilots on board.

  There have still be no findings; the Russian Mission to the UN has publicly questioned how envoy Hilde Johnson is running the mission.

  Now five Indian peacekeepers have been killed, along with four Kenyans and three South Sudanese. Senior ambassadors asked Inner City Press last week, why were they out there without armored personnel carriers? Several linked this to "Ladsous mismanagement."

  Inner City Press went to the April 12 UN noon briefing and asked:

Inner City Press: about the attack in South Sudan on the peacekeepers that killed the Indian peacekeepers, the Kenyans and the South Sudanese. There is now a pretty detailed account, talking to eyewitnesses, saying that 200-some armed fighters attacked the convoy. But, one thing that came up yesterday, actually in the North Lawn Building, around the senior advisory group, many of the troop-contributing countries are protesting that the Indian peacekeepers didnít have APCs [armored personnel carriers], basically saying they didnít have the right equipment to be in an area as dangerous as it is, and I wanted to know, is it true? Does UNMISS, South Sudan Mission, not have armored personnel carriers? Why was it in that area? And, I know, you know, 20/20 hindsight, but they are saying there were no APCs and thatís a problem, and I am wondering, what do you know about it?

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: Iíll have to find out for you, Matthew. I donít have that information with me.

  In the two days since, no information has been provided, just UN Peacekeeping tweeting its condolences.

  Under Ladsous, UN Peacekeeping has hit new lows in information games. On matters like the 126 rapes in Minova by the Congolese Army, Ladsous' partners, Ladsous outright refuses (November 27, December 7, December 18) to answer Inner City Press' questions. 

  Then his DPKO - and now Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson's office -- hand the answers to other, favored media like Tim Witcher of Agence France Presse (Ladsous has served on an AFP management board) and Louis Charbonneau of Reuters. This has been objected to, now formally as the Free UN Coalition for Access.

  But even if there is some spin about the lack of APCs, who would print it? So maybe there will just be no answer at all. Watch this site.

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