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UN Quietly Reports Over 100 Killed in Congo by LRA After "Well-Judged" Attack on Group

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, December 29 -- As the UN Security Council met until 3 am on Saturday night about the Gaza air strikes which, according to the UN have killed 62 women and children, in Orientale Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo well over 100 people were hacked to death with machetes. This attack was barely mentioned Monday at the UN. Ban Ki-moon held a press conference and spoke only about Gaza, took no questions on Gaza or any other topic.

   John Holmes the head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs was asked by Inner City Press about his Office's methodology in counting the dead in Gaza, which many saw as implying that only women and children were civilians, and why this methodology is used in Gaza but not in Africa. Holmes said it is not a methodology and was only meant to help the Press.

   Supposedly OCHA has issued a report that nearly 200 civilians were killed in Orientale Province by the Lord's Resistance Army. The report was not made available in the UN's Spokesperson's Office -- where, for example, a three paragraph UNAMID press release about a dead peacekeeper was displayed -- and does not seem to use the Gaza methodology, of implying that men are or may be combatants and not civilians. 

  The LRA, meanwhile, claims that Uganda's Army the UPDF is behind the killings, to blame them on the LRA.  Either way, over 100 are dead, in fall-out from the three-nation assault on the LRA's camp in the Congo. UK Ambassador John Sawers back on December 17 called this assault, known as Operation Lightning Thunder, "well-judged." Video here, from Minute 4.

Joseph Kony, center, and LRA-ers many since dead, perhaps counted as civilians

  Now, humanitarians are saying that far too little forethought was given to what would happen if Joseph Kony was not killed in the assault, what the LRA would do. As the issue of extrajudicial killing is being raised about Israel's bombing of the houses of Hamas leaders in Gaza, the UN through envoy Joaquim Chissano, and its Security Council through a Presidential Statement, have embraced a military strategy that itself smacked of extrajudicial killing of the indicted war criminal Joseph Kony. 

  There always seems to be a different standard for Africa, even or especially at the UN, including as related to counting the dead and whether they are civilians.

Update: the UN has scheduled a press conference Tuesday by Robert Serry about Gaza, but not even a noon briefing to field questions including about over 100 civilians killed in the Congo.

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

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

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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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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