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Sudan Border Help Stalled by Money Questions of France & US, UN Kordofan Inaction

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, October 13 -- Even as further evidence of UN inaction and cover-up regarding murder in Southern Kordofan emerges, the UN Security Council has yet to vote to modify the mandate of the peacekeeping mission in Abyei, UNISFA, to allow its Ethiopian troops to provide protection along the contested border outside of Abyei. Why?

  On October 12 multiple Council sources told Inner City Press that in closed door consultations on October 11, two Permanent members have raised questions about the costs of allowing and transporting even just 300 peacekeepers to act along the long border between South and north Sudan.

  That France is one of these two P5 members is not surprising: they "played cheapskate," as one major troop contributing country put it, during the formation of UNISFA, and led the charge in the UN's budget committee to deny peacekeepers a long overdue raise.

  Asked by Inner City Press, a UK spokesman responded that, "We have not raised the issue of the additional costs of these proposed further 300 peacekeepers in the Security Council.

  But as with all proposed force changes for any PKO, we’ll want to look at costs carefully, and if approved, continue to monitor costs and the overall effectiveness of these changes.”

  So the second country, at least to some activists, comes as a surprise: the United States. Apologists for this US approach say, predictably, that it "not just about the money." 

  They say that the US Mission to the UN, led by Susan Rice, is frustrated that not only Khartoum but also South Sudan have yet to remove their troops from Abyei as agreed.

  In this view, not "giving in" to the rare joint request of South and north Sudan for these 300 plus peacekeepers -- and four helicopters and two jets, Inner City Press is told -- is a way to force them to live up to their agreement to leave Abyei.

  With the US current focused the alleged Iran versus Saudi Arabia plot and other issues including Palestine's application to the Security Council for full UN membership, which the US opposes, it is not clear if a linkage between implementation in Abyei and agreeing to assist along with longer contested border can be publicly acknowledged and defended.

Kadugli killing fields per SSP, UN inaction & improvement not shown

  Meanwhile, in the wake of the UN's cover-up of its Egyptian peacekeepers' inaction in Southern Kordofan before the UNMIS mission's mandate expired on July 9, a new report provides additional details about murders by the "Abu Tira" Central Reserve Police organized by Ahmed Haroun.

  Haroun was and is a war criminal indicted by the International Criminal Court whom the UN flew back and forth to Abyei in a UN helicopter.

  Of this incident, as Inner City Press raised August 15 to the UN, the UN's initial report stated  that

"29. On 8 June, an UNMIS independent contractor (IC) was pulled out of a vehicle by SAF in front of the UNMIS Kadugli Sector IV Compound in the presence of several witnesses, while UN peacekeepers could not intervene. He was taken around the corner of the compound and gunshots were heard. Later he was discovered dead by UNMIS personnel and IDPs. Several sources confirmed that the victim was an active SPLM member." (Emphasis added.)

  When the edited version was released, this paragraph appeared with the key phrase "while UN peacekeepers could not intervene" entirely removed, as if the Egyptian UN peacekeepers had not been there:

"17. On 8 June, an UNMIS individual contractor (IC) was pulled out of a vehicle by SAF in front of the UNMIS Kadugli Sector IV compound in the presence of several witnesses. He was taken away from the vicinity of the compound and gunshots were heard. Later he was discovered dead by UNMIS personnel and IDPs. Several sources confirmed that the victim was an active SPLM member." 

  Now, the Sudan Sentinel Project early on October 13 put out a press release including

"eyewitness reports of the abduction and murder of Numeiri Philip Kalo, a UN independent contractor with Tri-Star Fueling and a Catholic seminarian, were communicated to SSP. One witness reported to SSP that Abu Tira abducted Numeiri, a Nuba man who was an active SPLM supporter, on 8 June from the east UNMIS gate. They reportedly put him in an Abu Tira Land Cruiser, drove around the corner, shot him with automatic weaponry, and dumped his bullet-riddled body from the moving vehicle in front of the CRP compound. Egyptian peacekeepers, among other people, reportedly observed the abduction and murder."

  The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights report which was leaked and then carefully edited, as exclusively reported by Inner City Press, played down the knowledge and inaction of the UN's Egyptian peacekeepers.
  Back in late August, after multiple inquiries by Inner City Press, OHCHR spokesman Rupert Colville in Geneva replied about this edit:

"draft para 29 / final para 17: original phrase 'while UN peacekeepers could not intervene' is ambiguous. Does it mean they were not ABLE to? If so was that for circumstantial reasons, or because of rules of engagement? Or does it mean they chose not to? After checking with the field, we were unable to establish the precise circumstances, so the reference was deleted."

  For UN peacekeepers to fail to act during killings, important in this instance to no less that the Bishop of Kadugli and previously of interest from Srebrenica to Rwanda, should not be left ambiguous -- but it should definitely not by deleted, by the UN.

  The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights could and should have determined what were the rules of engagement for these UN peacekeepers, and should have addressed the allegations by the Bishop of Kadugli and others that the peacekeepers decided not to act because they sided with Khartoum and its militias.

  To delete the reference and airbrush out the peacekeepers is, in this view, entirely irresponsible. Now what? Watch this site.

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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