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In S. Sudan, UN Is Told To Stop Night Patrols, Leaked Report Shows

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, January 20 -- In the UN's continued withholding of news and answers about South Sudan, the reports of the UN's own knowledge of abuses are now being withheld from its own impacted national staff.  But Inner City Press has obtained and now publishes this:

"On 19 January 2016 at about 21:22hrs in Juba, an UNMISS integrated patrol team was conducting operations when they were stopped by an SPLA vehicle containing eleven (11) armed soldiers.  The SPLA soldiers cordoned the convoy at gunpoint denying them permission to continue the patrol. After ten minutes of negotiation another three (3) SPLA vehicles arrived at the scene with about 30 armed soldiers. After 30 minutes the SPLA agreed to allow the UN patrol to return to UN House compound in convoy escorted by six (6) SPLA vehicles with about sixty (60) armed SPLA soldiers. During the negotiation SPLA soldiers reportedly advised that UNMISS should stop conducting night patrols without SPLA clearance otherwise there will be a consequences."

 So one side in South Sudan's civil war - in this case, Paul Malong's - orders the UN to stop patrolling at night, so it can do what it will. And the UN says nothing.

Back on January 11, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the withheld situation reports, video here, transcript here:

Inner City Press: South Sudan, we've been back and forth about these situation reports, and I want… one, I wanted to ask you whether you have anything in your binder about fighting near a place called Diabio.  But I also wanted to ask you, I've now heard that the situation reports will no longer be distributed electronically and, more troublingly, that local UN staff are not supposed to be told the contents of the reports.  I'd like you to check that… [cross talk] … given… given…

Spokesman:  I don't know what situation reports you're talking about.  You're obviously… you're getting situation reports that… [cross talk]

Inner City Press:  My overall question…

Spokesman:  Obviously, you know, there are different types of reports.  There are those done by the peacekeeping mission which I give to you.

Inner City Press:  UNDSS (Department of Safety and Security).

Spokesman:  There are others done, like you said, by DSS.  These are the ones you seem to have unlimited access to, which is, I guess, good for you.  The point is DSS is entrusted to keeping our staff safe, and I trust them to share the information they need to share to ensure that all staff, whether national or international, have the information they need to be able to stay safe.

  Even if that were true, what about civilians?

 On January 5, having seen the January 4 Situation Report of UNMISS, Inenr City Press asked the UN's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, transcript here:

Inner City Press: over the break, I’d asked in writing a couple of times about fighting in Pibor in South Sudan.  Seems to be something that the UN, at least according to documents that they produced, knows about.  And it seems that also there’s been continued fighting on 4 January.  What is the UN doing to protect civilians in this place that has, you know, previously had a pretty serious mass killing event, Pibor in Jonglei State?

Spokesman:  On Pibor, the Mission reports that sustained gunfire took place earlier, which was… what day are we today?

Inner City Press:  Tuesday, 5th.

Spokesman:  The 5th.  Yesterday, on the 4th, in Jonglei State.  The Mission is receiving reports that fighting took place between Lango and Bototh groups, two different ethnic groups.  The UN separately reports that tensions between South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army-Cobra Factions and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army have decreased in Pibor over the weekend.  UNMISS (United Nations Mission in South Sudan) observed a limited number of open shops in Pibor yesterday. 

 Well that's something. We'll have more on this.

   Inner City Press published an internal UN Situation Report, which of Pibor diplomatically said:

"On 29 December 2015 at about 06:50 hrs, in Pibor (GPAA) sporadic gunfire was heard  at about 600 meters north of the UNMISS Pibor compound. At about 10:43 hrs, about 15-20 armed SPLA soldiers positioned themselves outside the UNMISS Pibor perimeter on the Northern side of the old PoC. No hostile actions have been reported at this time. INDBATT Protection Force is monitoring and on high alert. All staff members have been accounted for and are inside the UN compound."

 (The Sit Rep also recounts the UN Mission's UNexplained confiscation of "homemade alcohol" including from "an SPLA.")

  Also on December 30, Inner City Press obtained and asked the UN Spokesperson about this internal UN report:

"On 30 Dec (today), from 10:45hrs to 11:30hrs, an UNMISS team comprising of UN security, MLO, INBATT2, UNPOL and CAD conducted joint patrols in Pibor town and environs.
The team observed the following:
·         30 meter long trench have been dug by armed personnel from David Yau Yau’s Cobra Faction close to their HQ and former UNMISS water point in Pibor main town. 60mm mortar gun stands are position in the trenches facing Likuangole. (The mortar range is approximately 1.5kms). Ammunition boxes are also placed in the trenches.

·         Huge presence of cobra faction militia in Pibor town and posted at every strategic location around Pibor.

·         Shops are closed with less civilian population in town."

 And still, nothing from the UN. This is called more cover-up.

"On South Sudan, Inner City Press has seen a document in which UNMISS states that 'the people of Pibor and the Cobra faction (loyal to DYY) also informed DYY that they will never allow Baba Koneyi (the supposed Governor elect with origins from Likuangole and whom they consider as a Bor politician supporting the Dinka and not the Murle) to come to Pibor.'

"Please state what UNMISS is doing about this, including but not limited to protection.

"Please respond to criticism that UNMISS in Malakal, aware that humanitarians are resistant to working in a military camp, will reportly not provide any medical services?

"What is the UN's / UNMISS' / DPA's view of or response to the SPLA-IO position that the 28 state decree must be removed?"

  Of the five questions Inner City Press submitted to three UN Spokespeople on the morning of December 29, a partial response was received only to this one: "On Puerto Rico, please confirm (or deny) receip of the Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla's letter to Ban Ki-moon and response to the position that the US is reversing a decades-old understanding that Puerto Rico, while a U.S. commonwealth, governs through its own constitution."

Near 4 pm on December 29, the UN spokesman answered:

"From: Stephane Dujarric [at]
Date: Tues, Dec 29, 2015 at 3:53 PM
Subject: Press Qs in lieu of a Dec 29 UN noon briefing: Burundi, South Sudan, Puerto Rico/US, UNHQ, Jordan, still UN scandals / reforms, Yemen; thanks in advance
To: Matthew Lee [at]
Cc: FUNCA [at]

"Matthew--on Puerto Rico, we can confirm that we have received the letter from Governor Garcia Padilla. On the rest, if we have updates, we will share them with you."

 So, nothing at all on the South Sudan questions.

On December 28, Inner City Press asked four UN spokespeople:

"In South Sudan, the UN's Dec 24 Situation Report said 'On 23 December 2015 at around 09:30 hrs, at Baggari Jadid check point in Wau an UNMISS Integrated patrol team heading to Ngisa for security assessment was denied passage by local security agents manning the check point. The local security team stated that they received orders from their superiors not to allow UNMISS vehicles to proceed along Wau - Bazia axis. Efforts to obtain permission from SPLA to proceed on the patrol were turned down, therefore, the mission was aborted.'

"What has been done since? And what has the UN done about the continuing detention of WES Governor Joseph Bakasoro?"

Dujarric replied at 2 pm on December 28 to another question, partially (on Burundi) then added: "On the other issues, if we have an update to share with you, we will."

 So on South Sudan, as usual, there is no UN response. But here, the UN not protecting civilians in laid bare - with no response. We'll have more on this.

Back on December 9, the day after the UN belatedly confirmed ceasefire violations in South Sudan, only after Inner City Press published proof of the UN's knowledge and asked about it, then the UN Peacekeeping mission in the country shifted to either intentionally mis-reporting government actions in Yambio, or showing ineptitude in its response.

   Again receiving leaked UNMISS Situation Reports, Inner City Press found this paragraph:

"On 7 December 2015 around 20:00 hrs, heavy exchange of gunshots occurred in the area of Hai Kuba, Ikpiro in Yambio in Western Equatoria State. The shooting lasted approximately twenty to thirty minutes. Reportedly, the shooting started when the local authorities attempted to arrest three (3) local youths suspects."

But Inner City Press' sources said the arrests were political, of former Yambio Commissioner Angelo Bakote and 3 young men. So on December 9 Inner City Press asked, of protection, transcript here. Back on December 8 Inner City Press asked, video here, transcript here.

For weeks amid fighting in South Sudan, Inner City Press has asked the UN why it refuses to report even what it knows. Even as Inner City Press has obtained, asked about and published emails showing the UN's knowledge of fighting, the UN spokesperson has repeated, Ask UNMISS.

   Inner City Press asked why UN Peacekeeping, led by Herve Ladsous, does not report on fighting of which it is aware, and how “no UN interest is involved” is consistent with the UN's protection of civilians mandate or claims.

   Dujarric wouldn't even attempt an answer to this policy question (which Ladsous refuses, like other Press questions, to answer). Dujarric repeated, as if it were an answer, that he has not seen the email.

  So Inner City Press published it, here:

"From: Enoch Penney Laryea

Sent: Wednesday, December 02, 2015 9:15 AM

To: SANTUR Abdulahi; Simon Agnew [WFP]; Christoffel Du Toit; Safari Djumapili [OCHA]; Ruiz, Domingo (FAOSS); Carlyne Romulus [at UNMAS] Sorin GIFEI [WFP], Shane Yates [UNCHR]; Abdikadir Tulicha; Sylvain Denairies; UNMISS-FHQ-J2;  John McCue (IOM); Gatluak Gatluak [and others at UNICEF], IMF

Subject: FW: Fighting in Busere - Western Bahr El Ghazal State

"Info received indicate that on 01 Dec 2015 at about 05:00 hours (LT) fighting erupted between SPLA and SPLA/IO at FIRKA and BUSERE (20 km South of Wau town). The fighting subsided around 10:00 hours. Military pickups and ambulances were observed transporting casualties along the airport road at high speed towards the military barracks. SPLA soldiers in the town were seen to be on high alert and on stand by mode.

"Comments: Reportedly the SPLA/IO group attacked SPLA at the affected area. When SPLA soldiers were sent to reinforce their colleagues they were also ambushed by the rebels leading to further casualties on the part of SPLA.

"Fighting is still ongoing as of 02 Dec 2015.

"No UN interest is involved at this time."

Again, why doesn't Ladsous' DPKO report this, and how is this “no UN interest is involved at this time” consistent with the UN's protection of civilians mandate or claims? We'll have more on this.

Inner City Press obtained the UN Security Situation Report for November 29, and finds in this internal report, exclusively published here:

"On 28 November 2015 at around 22:45 hrs, in Yambio town near Tourist Hotel along the main road, a UN Agency national staff member was reportedly involved in a traffic accident. UN Security responded to the scene of the incident and found another civilian vehicle turned over with the driver apparently dead inside the vehicle whilst the UN agency staff member sustained visible injuries in his head. The local police on the spot attempted to arrest the UN staff member involved in the accident, however,
after negotiation UN Security transported him to UN clinic for the medical treatment."

 Can you say, impunity?

From September 29, 2015: An internal UN document leaked to Inner City Press, which is exclusively publishing it today, shows the high degree of dysfunction in the country, and in the UN.

UN's South Sudan Report, Sept 2015, Leaked to Inner City Press by Matthew Russell Lee

  Here are some quotes, the full document we have put online here:

Within South Sudan the inextricable link with the Government’s political party SPLM with the SPLA military has exacerbated the crisis and this bond is also a potential stumbling block to finding a peaceful solution in the future. Currently the Government cannot adequately protect its population or institutions and therefore by extension is also unable to provide adequate protection to UN personnel or assets. The fragmentation of the military from the beginning of the crisis, the misuse of national security agencies and the economic status resulting from the collapse of state structure and drop in income, has led to further political instability.

This assessment defines that the UN is not a primary target for direct violence. However, this situation could change if the economic situation declines further, the military armed conflict continues and tensions rise within PoC sites.

Currently there is no mainstreaming of Security within the planning of UN activities/ programmes. Therefore, the policy that defines that security needs to be involved at all levels of management to ensure security is considered/ mainstreamed into all activities or programmes is not applied, specifically in UNMISS.

The high prevalence of alcohol and illicit drug use within the PoC sites has exacerbated violence and criminal behaviour directly impacting upon UN and AFP personnel working or living within or adjacent to the PoC sites. The smuggling of weapons into the PoCs poses a potential Direct Threat to UNMISS and AFP staff.

 Continued accusations by government actors or affiliates that the PoC sites are sanctuary for supporters of the SPLA in Opposition also make the PoC sites a target; this point was actively demonstrated in the attack in the Bor in April 2014 resulting in the death of 55 IDPs within the UNMISS site.

Prior to December 2013, the UN was well regarded by the South Sudanese for its role in the drive towards independence from Sudan, for its humanitarian interventions and for efforts to protect civilians. But the ongoing crisis in South Sudan has also negatively impacted on sentiments and threats directed to UN personnel in the course of their work, for example IDPs insisting that national staff not from their preferred ethnic group are removed from programme activities in POC sites and some Ugandan UNPOL having to wear civilia clothes and be removed from POC duty due to active UPDF military support for the
Government of South Sudan.

In March 2014, a labelling error was discovered whilst transporting containers loaded with duty equipment for the UN Ghanaian peacekeepers in Unity State which brought strained relations to even a lower point. The error was exploited to galvanise hostility towards the UN in favour of the government by falsely presenting the UN as supplying weaponry to the opposition. It took elaborate interventions, investigations
and communications to clear the false impression that this created.

[ICP note: the same type of "labeling" or "clerical" error occure this months with weapons headed to MONUSCO. This is what UN Peacekeeping has become under Herve Ladous, who linked peacekeepers' rapes to "R&R, here.]

On 26 August 2014 under suspicious circumstances a UN contracted helicopter crashed near Bentiu in Unity State, killing three (3) aircrew and injuring one (1) other, underlining the threats involved in working within South Sudan. Investigations into the cause of the crash were inconclusive.

There have been increasing reports of criminal acts occurring within the Protection Of Civilian (POC) sites; also there have been a number of serious assaults against the UN and other humanitarian workers, sometimes involving weapons which
has resulted a few times of hospitalisation of personnel. These incidents have, and continue to affect not only the civilians seeking refuge at UN sites, but also the ‘safety and security’ of individual UNMISS and Agencies Funds and Programmes (AFP)

"In February 2015 there was an alleged sexual assault of a Canadian INGO by a subcontractor for a UN Agency in UNMISS Bentiu team site."

[ICP note: the UN and UNICEF have not addressed this; the head of UN Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous, has linked rapes to R&R.]

As the fighting also continues at a pace within Sudan on two fronts – Darfur and Nuba Mountains (South Kordofan in particular) the impact for the whole border region cannot be ignored. Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) are also carrying out
aerial bombing campaigns in the Nuba Mountains but also extending into South Sudan in November 2014 to hit alleged JEM targets in Raja, Western Bahr el Ghazal which killed 24 people including women and children.

South Sudan lacks an adequate air traffic control system, countrywide. The government took control of the country’s airspace from Sudan in 2011, but to date has not issued any “Notice to Airmen” (NOTAMs.). There are areas, however, that the government has declared a “no fly zone” (i.e. over the Presidential Palace in Juba), suggesting that the government reserve the right to fire upon an aircraft that violates this airspace.

The SPLA-io has reportedly mined the roads to the north of
Bentiu resulting in several incidents of vehicles being destroyed and civilian casualties. This is of particular concern to the UN as these routes are a vital corridor in delivering humanitarian aid.

The existing EU sanctions delivered in July 2014 had little impact on the deescalating of the crisis."

We'll have more on this.


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