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In DRC, ICP Report on UN Using 400 Rounds on Civilian Echoed by Le Monde

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up on Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, October 26 -- Even as the UN's envoy to the Democratic Republic of the Congo Martin Kobler was assuring Inner City Press of improvements in security while declining to comment on his leaked memo to UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous that Inner City Press published this week, Ladsous' Department was covering up a civilian killing in the DRC.

  That is how Inner City Press on October 7 exclusively reported the MONUSCO mission's use of 76 rockets and 400 rounds of ammunition near Pinga, which sources told Inner City Press resulted in civilian death, which Ladsous' DPKO then reflexively denied or covered up. Inner City Press raised this within the Security Council's P3 members as well, so far without effective response or reform.

 Now Le Monde belatedly chimes in -- with a story agreeing that MONUSCO is failing, but also trying to say that Ladsous' DPKO is being falsely accused. If so, they have only themselves to blame: rather than respond to Inner City Press' October 7 noon briefing question with details, the UN had a carefully worded statement which remains at odds with what Inner City Press is informed as said at the internal DPKO / DFS meeting about the incident.

  And why WAS Ladsous' DPKO deploying this amount of force against a "minor" group and not the FDLR? Inner City Press has previously noted Ladsous' role in 1994, including this memo. We -- but perhaps not Le Monde -- will have more on this.

   Sources tell Inner City Press of a DPKO meeting concerning an excessive use of force by the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), through its Force Intervention Brigade, using 76 rockets or missiles and up to 400 rounds of ammunition near Pinga in Eastern Congo, ostensibly against the Mai Mai Cheka group.

   But at least one civilians was killed. There was no impartial investigation, the sources say. Rather, Ladsous' DPKO went in itself, and conveniently “discovered” a gun near the killed civilians, much like  some police departments “drop a piece” after a questionable shooting.

   Inner City Press is informed, by different sources, that this has been discussed among senior officials in Ladsous' DPKO, at the DPKO / DFS Directors' meeting on the morning of October 7.

   So why wasn't this said at the Security Council and stakeout where Kobler bragged to Inner City Press about the “zero tolerance” policy (while Ladsous has, on camera, linked rape to “R&R”)?

What is the mechanism to disclose the killing of civilians under Ladsous' DPKO? We'll have more on this - and on Ladsous including one of his meetings during UN General Assembly debate week. Ladsous' spokespeople, far from answering questions, go so far as to direct UNTV boom microphone operators to avoid Inner City Press, even preventing the Press from asking any questions to Mali's Foreign Minister Abdulaye Diop last week. We'll have more on all this.


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