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South Sudan Accuses Bashir of Arming LRA as Susan Rice Smiles, Others Queasy

By Matthew Russell Lee

REJAF, SOUTH SUDAN, October 7 -- A military band greeted Susan Rice and 13 other Security Council Ambassadors on Thursday morning at this police training camp on the banks of the Nile River.

  The minister of internal affairs of the Government of South Sudan gave a speech, in which he accused the government of Omar al Bashir of supplying ammunition not only to cattle rustlers but also the Lord's Resistance Army.

  Susan Rice did not react to this accusation, rather smiling broadly as South Sudan military figures praised her.

As the Security Council delegation took a tour of the facility, compete with mock hijackings of VIPs in four by four vehicle, fought off by the just trained police, Inner City Press asked another Council Ambassador if he was comfortable with the tone of the visit to Rejaf, sometimes called and spelled Rajaf.

  “It's a very sensitive situation,” he said, going on to wonder what the government of Sudan in Khartoum would think of this show of readiness for independence and with what some call its Susan Rice “cult of personality” aspect. Others say it is merely Susan showing her passion.

  Still, the mood was hopeful, with young South Sudanese singing and marching around in robo-cop crowd control outfits complete with thigh and shin armor. Inner City Press interviewed a number of the trainees, who said they are only paid from time to time and have no toilets, having to “use the bush.”

A speech to the Council members asked for $50 million to take the training facility to the next stage. Afterward an Ambassador joked to Inner City Press, “Did they expect us to take out our checkbooks?”

Susan Rice and SSudan minister, status neutral and $50 million not shown

  One Permanent Representative was conspicuously absent: Russia's Vitaly Churkin. It led one to wonder how such a Council Mission to Kosovo would have looked, while UNMIK was running it, before the unilateral declaration of independence. There, the UN's watchword was “status neutral.” Was that only because Serbia had Russia taking its side in the Council? Watch this site.

Footnote: the last leg of the Susan Rice portion of the trip, a visit to Wau, was canceled when the UN plane, run by Swift Air, broke down on the Juba tarmac. The entire delegation moved to the Russian base of UNMIS. Things started friendly, but then a Russian commander ordered the Press to stop using the Internet.

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UN Council Hears of S. Sudan “Slavery,” Sees Call for Separation, UNMIS Off Hook

By Matthew Russell Lee

JUBA, October 6 -- The Juba airport in South Sudan was jumping as the UN Security Council arrived late Wednesday afternoon. “Separation = Peace,” as one sign put it. If the welcoming party is any guide, the mood for secession in Sudan Sudan cannot be contained.

On the way to Juba, a senior Western official emphasized that the program for the Council and press is to show South Sudan outside of Juba -- just as the meeting earlier in Wednesday with Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni was not, in fact, about Somalia peacekeepers, but rather an Afro-centric view of Sudan's North - South conflict.

In the meeting, the official said, Museveni had repeatedly said that the Southern Sudanese had been treated like slaves. Rebecca Garang, it emerges, met with the Council minutes before Museveni, and spoke movingly of the death of her husband John, who stands to be the father of a nation. She asked why his death was not investigated as Lebanon's Hariri's has been.

She said that the Southern Sudanese missed the first time they tried to kill the gazelle -- this meant winning freedom, the official explained -- but now the reference will be the second change to kill the gazelle, and won't be missed.

Vans of the UN Mission in Sudan whisked the Ambassadors, staff and Press to the Government of South Sudan Conference Hall. Tall security guards with wrap around sunglasses asked, “You from New York?” Well, yes. This was the magic word to be whisk in for the photo opportunity of President of South Sudan Salva Kiir with three Ambassadors. Then the Press was told to leave, and also disinvited from an event event between the Ambassadors, the Government of South Sudan and civil society.

  Comparing this building to 2008, when Inner City Press was last in it, things have been progressing in South Sudan. But have they progressed enough, in terms of institutions? Museveni told the Council that ready or not, South Sudan can not be slaves anymore.

Juba, Oct 6, 2010 (c) MRLee Separation YES (games not shown)

Chosen as the place to stay was the Beijing Juba Hotel. Inside behind a counter with Chinese lanterns and a mural of the Great Wall, one African and three Chinese women distributed access codes to use the Internet in the lobby, and ask that rooms be paid in cash.

  Certain years or vintage of bill “are a problem here,” it emerges. The color of money is green, as are the fields outside of Juba. And freedom, by all accounts, is coming soon.

Inner City Press asked the Western diplomat if there are concerns among the Council about Khartoum's accusation that Salva Kiir has violated the CPA by saying he would vote for independence. I didn't see the quote, the official answered. Salva Kiir is free to express himself.

  But what about the North's plans to delay, stop or frustrate the referendum? Is the Council making plans? Is UNMIS up to it? Those on the trip won't know: the meeting with UNMIS and Haile Menkerios was canceled and won't be rescheduled. The plan for Thursday is in the air, literally--

Helicopters to Rejaf to see the training of police, prop planes to Waw or Wau, to visit a Catholic mission, and then on to Darfur. Watch this site.

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Museveni Pressed on Killing of Civilians in Somalia, Disfavors Shelling, Cites Mao

By Matthew Russell Lee

UGANDA, October 6 -- President Yoweri Museveni took questions from the Press after meeting with the Security Council on Wednesday. Inner City Press asked about calls to investigate the killing of civilians in Mogadishu by Ugandan and Burundian troops. President Museveni said that those his forces killed “in June, July, August” must have been combatants, since they were assaulting a fortified position.

But what about killings of civilians in markets? President Museveni said he does not favor the shelling of such areas. Inner City Press posed similar questions last month to Jean Ping of the African Union Commission, who responded angrily that Al Shabab insists on using human shields and even fighting from mosques. He did not speak about disfavoring response.

Uganda's Ambassador to the UN Ruhakana Rugunda said that the Lord's Resistance Army was discussed in the meeting with the Council. Inner City Press asked if Uganda thinks the UN mission in the Congo MONUSCO is doing enough against the LRA bases in the Congo.

President Museveni said that the LRA is degraded, so degraded they had to go to “the Central African Republic and Darfur.” He praises his “revolutionary” forces, citing Mao about a people's army not taking a needle from the people without paying for it. Three times he praises Tanzania for sending 45,000 to throw out Idi Amin.

About the UN's Mapping Report on the Congo, President Museveni said he hadn't read it, but it must be fiction. There are fiction writers, he said, in international organization. US Ambassador Susan Rice sat stonefaced. What is the US view on what happened in Rwanda, and the Mapping Report? Watch this site.

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In Uganda With UN Council, LRA On Agenda But Not Present, Like Karamoja

By Matthew Russell Lee

KAMPALA, October 6 -- On its way to Sudan, the UN Security Council early Wednesday morning reached its first official stop in Entebbe, Uganda. Their UN-painted plane landed on the airstrip where in 1978 Israeli assault troops moved on a plane full of hijackers and hostages. This was barely comment on, however. It was the middle of the night.

  The Security Council's Terms of Reference for Uganda were released Monday in New York, after Uganda's Permanent Representative Ruhakana Rugunda had held a press conference about the Council's work.

  The five bullet point range from supporting the fight against the Lord's Resistance Army and the Uganda troops in Somalia to “examining... the Regional Service Center in Entebbe.”

   With Entebbe the first stop after sunrise Wednesday, some wondered why the Council members, staff and press were driven fifty kilometers in the middle of the night, past other hotels, past Kampala, to the plush “Speke Resort - Munyonyo.” The scuttlebutt is that the government wanted the Ambassadors to stay in this particular hotel.

  Inner City Press rode in a World Health Organization van, past tidy shops including the Jesus Cares Supermarket and branches of Tropical Bank and Post Bank, speaking with a Ugandan staff member of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The UN Resident Representative had asked him to come to the airport at midnight and he had.

  He said his job is to monitor human rights, showing reports to the government, and to work with the local media. Inner City Press asked if his Office has received any push back about the wider OHCHR's Democratic Republic of the Congo Mapping Report, which accuses the Ugandan UPDF army of atrocities in the DRC. Not much, he said. Those complaints are directed elsewhere.

  Since the Lord's Resistance Army forms one of the Council's five bullet points for Uganda, Inner City Press asked what his office had to say about the LRA. Not much, he said, the LRA has long left, to the Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan (where they Council's going midday Wednesday).

  In fact, the Council could order its mission in the Congo, MONUSCO, to do more to break up reported LRA camps there. Uganda's Ambassador Ruhakana Rugunda was his government's negotiator on LRA in 2006, and visited Juba as he will later on Wednesday.

To the UN plane, October 5-6, 2010, TOR not shown (c) MRLee

Inner City Press asked about the situation in Karamoja on which it has reported, specifically on UNDP funded involuntary disarmament of pastoralist Karamojong resulting in death and village burn downs. There are still incidents, he said. But what is the UN doing about them? It is not on the Council's agenda.

Footnote: in the VIP lounge in Nairobi, a request was made to Inner City Press on behalf of a unnamed Council member not to report that “nothing is being done.” There is, of course, one or more ways to avoid that. Inner City Press is here to cover the Council's trip and results through Uganda, South Sudan, Darfur and Khartoum. Watch this site, follow on Twitter @InnerCityPress.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

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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