to Doha Taken
in Darfur by Janjaweed Seeking Pay, Russian Action
Looming Unless Released
29, updated below -- With a Russian pilot still held hostage in
Darfur, at the UN in New York Inner City Press asked the head of UN
peacekeeping and Sudan's acting Ambassador about the identity of the
hostage takers.“So are they Janjaweed?”
Le Roy didn't disagree, but said that the first priority is to
get the pilot released. “But if or most probably when that happens,
will the UN disclose what they know about how did it?”
d'affaires, asked if the hostage takers are or have been aligned
the government, also didn't disagree, and said he thought the pilot
would be released soon.
told Inner City
Press that the flight was to “collect” members of the Liberation
and Justice Movement “arrangement committee,” take them to Abache
in Chad, and from there to Doha on “regular flights.”
mid-level Russian diplomat
told Inner City Press that Khartoum is “working with the relatives
of those who took him,” but that if the pilot is not released soon,
“we'll just...”. His voice trailed off.
senior Russian diplomat also spoke with Inner City Press, presumably on
have happened is that a government aligned militia, whether or not
called Janjaweed, took the hostage as a sort of cry for help, or
that government payments to the Janjaweed have
actually decreased, now that the Liberation and Justice Movement has
been created under the leadership of a UN staff member and is willing
to negotiate. And so, this protest. Watch this site.
A helicopter in Darfur, Janjaweed and Russian response not shown
of its July 28 noon briefing:
Russia’s envoy on Darfur, Mr. Margelov, has said that
they have received information by Janjaweed, Government connected… It
is a direct quote where he says: “It has become clear today that
our helicopter pilots are in the hands of regular armed formations
that theoretically must obey Khartoum”, Janjaweed. So I am
wondering, given that that is a major Member State presumably getting
that information from…
I say, there have been a number of different reports,
different media reports and other pieces of information. DPKO
[Department of Peacekeeping Operations] is working very closely with
our colleagues on the ground to try to establish exactly what
happened. And, as I say, the main focus is on finding the pilot.
Still on helicopters in Sudan, yesterday, the Japanese, I
guess Mission, I will say… they had been very close to giving
helicopters for UNMIS [United Nations Mission in the Sudan] in South
Sudan and then decided not to. Yesterday they explained it as
follows: they said the United Nations required the total disassembly
of helicopters that arrive in Port Sudan, and that that seems
unnecessary and made it unlikely to give helicopters, and also that
the United Nations process of reimbursing countries for helicopters
does not distinguish between commercial and utility helicopters, and
therefore is a money loser, not that they would not take one on the
just wondering, does DPKO acknowledge that some of their
difficulty in obtaining helicopters was both the restrictions they
allow Sudan to impose and their failure to compensate countries even
at their own cost?
I mentioned to you yesterday, I think you will be briefed by DFS
[Department of Field Support] later this week and by DPKO soon after
that and you would be able to ask directly at that point.
Update of 3:15 pm,
July 29: The UN has just announced that the pilot was located and
returned to Nyala. Located by whom? Having been held by whom? Released
in return for what?
press release says that "UNAMID will report further on this incident
once more details become available." We'll see.
* * *
Reception Features Fela and Gambari, UNAMID Vote Friday
28 -- At Nigeria's end of Security Council Presidency
reception Wednesday night, the de facto guest of honor was Ibrahim
Gambari. Ambassador Joy Ogwu, who has followed him in each of his
Nigerian jobs, took photos with him, as did Nigerian and other UN
staff members in attendance.
event was in
the penthouse of Nigeria House, built under Gambari's tenure as his
country's ambassador to the UN. So it was something of a home coming.
current job, the joint African Union - UN Mission in Darfur, the vote
to extend its mandate will be Friday and not Thursday. Gambari
chatted up the political coordinators of Council members such as
Mexico, Austria and Turkey. He schmoozed Western Deputies Philip
Parham and Rosemary DiCarlo.
did not appear in attendance. But that was not the point: Nigeria's
representative on the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and
Budgetary Questions was there, kindly telling Inner City Press about
ACABQ's trip to El Fasher during one of Gambari's absences, to see
the cost of living differences in different parts of Sudan.
she helped procure a plate of food for Ghana Perm Rep Leslie K.
Christian, then clear the tables It is a down home and full service
mission, one refreshingly without pretensions.
pure Fela, spun by a Ethiopian DJ who words for the Nigerian mission.
More than one Nigerian remarked to Inner City Press that Gambari,
like Fela, might not always be welcome in Nigeria: the latter because
of protest, Gambari due to perceived defense of the military
dictatorship of Sani Abacha.
Sani Abacha was scarcely mentioned. Ambassador Ogwu, the host with
the most, said she does not envision following Gambari to a
peacekeeper mission, as she is 64, as in the Beatles' song.
Joy Ogwu and DPA, Ms. Gurlach not shown, outside
candidate in wings?
Goodluck Jonathan's picture was
up; the UN Department of Public Information's reticence to move from
Lagos to Abuja was a bone of contention. A spicy dish came with fish
bones included. The vibe was good: but where were China and Russia,
to Inner City Press that DPI is consenting to include the word
“blogger” for the first time in their accreditation guideline.
Still they are trying to confine it to a footnote. We'll see -- watch
Our own footnote,
then: the top Department of Political Affairs post with Security
Council Affairs, from which Horst Heitmann was removed without
ceremony, will not necessarily go to Ms. Gerlach. The talk now is of an
outside candidate. But why leave this post unfilled for so long?
* * *