Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

Fowler's Niger Companion Guay Active in Mining, UN Stonewalls on Their Mission

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

UNITED NATIONS, December 18 -- With the UN still refusing to describe what its putative envoy to Niger Robert Fowler was doing last Saturday visiting a Canadian-owned gold mine with Canadian government official Louis Guay and what's described as a UN Development Program driver before they disappeared, it has emerged that Guay has been in and out of commercial mining for years.

  During his diplomatic career, Guay took two "leaves of absence" and remained in-country following diplomatic assignments with Canada's Dept of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, one in Cameroon for a Montreal-based construction company called Sofati, and the other in the Dominican Republic with a Vancouver-based gold mining company seemingly called Placer Dome.  See, and

   The Dominican Republic gold project was signed between that Government and Placer Dome in July 2001. Guay's assignment with Placer Dome from 1996-1999 was, in the words of his own biography to "pursue the privatization of a major gold deposit" at the mine called Pueblo Viejo.  This company, Placer Dome, has been harshly criticized by both environmental groups (see and and labor groups.

  Questions continue to mount about what Fowler and Guay were doing when they were kidnapped. They were in a region of Niger not know for Tuareg. They did not have UN security with them, not any Nigerois protocol officer. In fact, a Niger official has been quoted that Fowler was on "personal business."

Niger Ministry of Mining, signing, Fowler / Guay mystery still unsolved

   Thursday at the UN, Inner City Press asked for simple answers, without satisfaction --

Inner City Press:  Mr. Fowler, the United Nations official -- can you state whether he was on United Nations business and whether his travel documents were approved here?  And whether the man travelling with him was also a United Nations staffer or “when actually employed” person?  And the last thing:  It was reported that he was visiting Canadian-owned mines in Southern Niger.  What could be the reason for that?  Is that the case?

Deputy Spokesperson Okabe:  I know you have a lot of questions, but, for the moment, all I can tell you is that the Niger authorities are looking into the matter and we appreciate their efforts and we are working with them.  I can confirm to you that Mr. Fowler, as Special Envoy for Niger, was on official mission.

Question:  Is there anything unusual about that visit?  The way it was arranged or the way it was scheduled?

Spokesperson:  At this point, we’ve told you everything that we can.

Question:  I was wondering -- because he’s been missing for what, five days now -- can you describe what kind of communication there’s been between the Secretary-General and the Government or other entities in Niger.

Spokesperson:  Well, as you recall, the Secretary-General did express his great concern and he is doing his best to obviously make sure there is a positive outcome to this situation.

Question:  Has he been speaking to them directly.

Spokesperson:  Let me get you the phone log.  Obviously he has been talking to anybody who can help in this situation.

Inner City Press:  I’d just like one follow-up.  The Voice of America has quoted Niger Government officials that Fowler was on private business.  That’s why I’m asking you.

Spokesperson:  He was on official mission.

Inner City Press:  Can we have a description of what he was doing?  Is that possible?

Spokesperson:  At this moment, given the security implications of this situation, I think we will leave it at that for now.

  As questions about the purpose of the trip mounting, it is not clear that the UN's stonewalling protects Fowler, and ultimately even itself.

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.

* * *

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -