In Congo, UN Spins Amid Hutu Rebels and Kabila's
Friends, Denies Retreating and Abuse
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
November 3 -- Amid reports that
Congolese president Joseph Kabila is requesting military backing from
and Angola, the UN at the highest levels on Monday sought to justify
actions. From Goma in Eastern Congo, UN Peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy
that he is aware of the reports Inner City Press asked him about of
army "colluding" with the Hutu rebels of the FDLR. He said that he
has asked "Kinshasa" -- presumably, President Kabila himself -- to
deal more even-handedly with the FDLR, in a "transparent manner"
under the supervision of the UN and others. Video here,
from Minute 32:34.
those others be? UN spokespeople on condition of anonymity claimed that
United Kingdom has offered paratroopers, but that France is blocking
deployment "because France wants to keep control."
Inner City Press asked Le Roy about a quote
by French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, that within the UN's
MONUC, "there are entire brigades that are unable to engage in
defensive, let alone offensive, action, because their rules of
insufficient or they are very restrictive." Le Roy said when he saw the
quote, he called up Kouchner. One wag remarked that the French control
Congo issue extends beyond the Security Council to the administrative
question to Le Roy about whether the Uruguayan contingent, as reported,
from the front lines was answered by MONUC chief Alan Doss. He said
Congolese army caused the problem, by taking up positions just behind
and firing rockets. That the Uruguayans left the cross-fire was a
made, Doss said, by an Indian battalion commander.
Ban Ki-moon, just back from Bangladesh, held a stakeout with the media
Monday afternoon, emphasizing his willingness to meet with Kabila and
president Paul Kagame as soon as possible. Inner City Press asked if
thinks Kabila should meet with Nkunda, since he is the once with forces
Goma and who declared the ceasefire. Ban replied that Kabila has said
willing to meet with Nkunda -- which, if true, would be news. Inner
request for a response to the critique of the UN as not doing enough to
against the FDLR and not only Nkunda's forces was not responded to.
from Minute 10:26.
UN's Ban and his new envoy to the
Congo, Nigeria's Obasanjo, FDLR not shown
briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson to explain the
from the Indian press, during Ban's passage through that country:
misconduct by Indian peacekeepers in Congo, he said investigations were
'I know that the Indian government has taken necessary measures'. On
allegations of smuggling, the Secretary General said: 'There has been
internal investigation by the U N's relevant investigative organs and
allegations have been proved to be not substantial.'"
said in August 2008 that he is "troubled" by evidence of Indian
peacekeepers sexually abusing young girls in Masisi in Eastern Congo,
City Press asked him spokesperson what exactly India has done since
spokesperson said to ask the Department of Peacekeeping Operations,
Le Roy and Alan Doss did not address the issue in their video press
later on Monday.
fact, the UN on
Monday reappointed Senegalese general Babacar Gaye as force commander
to replace Spanish general Diaz who quit three weeks after taking the
the middle of this crisis. While returning to a previous commander is
understandable, in his exit press conference in August, Gaye was
charges of sexual abuse and gold trading, even kidnapping, by MONUC
peacekeepers, click here for
that. One wag quipped, at MONUC it's zero
tolerance for abuse until Nkunda's at the door -- then anything goes.
Footnote: During his stay in
India, Inner City Press is
told, Ban Ki-moon wanted to see the Taj Mahal, but was told it would
quarters of a day, which he didn't have. He did, however, see the
the Buddha, in Nepal. In light of the chaos in Congo, one imagine the
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
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Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
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