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UN Let Darfur IDPs Be Kidnapped, VIP Service to Bozize Clan, Flying Mayi Mayi

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 25 -- Most of the UN's work is in Africa, but it gets very little oversight of its work there, at least from the press corps it accredits to its New York headquarters.

  On Monday at noon Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky questions about the UN in three countries in Africa: the Central African Republic, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Video here.

  In CAR, despite a UN political mission there, its envoy Margaret Vogt was in New York on March 13, she told Inner City Press, on vacation. She showed little sense of urgency, saying that she would brief the Security Council “in April” and maybe Ban Ki-moon would issue a statement before then.

  Now the Bozize family has been deposed by the Seleka rebels, and Inner City Press was left, or back, to ask if the UN refugee agency UNHCR is giving some form of VIP service to Bozize's entourage in the DRC, or the same service offered to others fleeing CAR.

  Nesirky said he would check; he declined to confirm if Bozize himself is in Cameroon.

  On Sudan, Nesirky read out a statement about IDPs being kidnapped on the way to Nyala. Inner City Press asked, how was this possible when they were accompanied, if not protected, by armed UN peacekeepers?

  Nesirky insisted he'd already read a statement. But it did not answer the obvious question: what's wrong with UNAMID? Previously UNAMID let rebels in Darfur take all their weapons, without firing a shot. Where IS the Protection of Civilians strategy? The UN has never directly answered that one.

On the DRC, Nesirky did after the briefing provide a written description which we will run in full:

Subject: Your question on Katanga province, DRC
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Mon, Mar 25, 2013 at 1:23 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

The UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) reports that on Saturday, 23 March, following a clash between Mayi Mayi elements and Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) troops in Lubumbashi, Katanga province, 245 Mayi-Mayi combatants entered the Mission compound, where they sought refuge and handed over their arms to peacekeepers.

The Mayi-Mayi combatants arrived at the MONUSCO compound at around 13.30 hours, local time, on Saturday, after being repelled by Government troops, following a surprise attack against Government institutions in Lubumbashi.

Following negotiations mediated by MONUSCO between the provincial authorities and the Mayi-Mayi, on 25 March, the Mayi Mayi combatants were transported by the Congolese authorities to Kinshasa on two flights.MONUSCO welcomes the peaceful surrender of the Mayi-Mayi combatants.

Out of the combatants, UNICEF had identified and separated 40 children to be demobilized and sent back to their families. Local NGOs estimated that at least 35 people, including civilians, Mayi-Mayi and FARDC soldiers, lost their lives in the fighting in the city. All the 16 injured combatants have been transferred to local hospitals for medical treatment. There were no casualties among UN staff. MONUSCO is closely monitoring the situation in Lubumbashi.

   Closely monitoring like the peacekeepers in Darfur “monitored” the IDPs who they let get kidnapped? How is it that there is so little oversight of UN Peacekeeping and its fourth French boss in a row, Herve Ladsous? Watch this site.

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