Makes Appeal for Niger, Dodges on Role of China and France, Face of
Coup like Guinea
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 30 -- Niger, the world's sixth largest producer of
uranium and the venue of a recent coup
d'etat led by a former UN
peacekeeper, Salou Djibo, faces a severe drought. The UN's Central
Relief Fund has put up $6 million, and on March 30 a press conference
for the purpose of fundraising was held by the UN's Resident
Coordinator for Niger, Khardiata Lo N'diaye.
the seizure of power by force have any impact on the humanitarian
situation, Inner City Press asked. Khardiata Lo N'diaye replied that
the "de facto authorities have put the humanitarian issues at
the top of their priorities." Video
here, from Minute 3:48.
that "state-owned China National Petroleum
Corporation... paid a $272 million signing bonus to the
administration of Tandja, who had appointed his own son Ousmane as
commercial attaché to the Nigerien Embassy in Hong Kong, a move
say helped Chinese companies curry favor with the African
City Press asked, with all due respect, if any contribution had been
sought or received from China, and whether the ostensibly diplomatic
UN mission of Robert Fowler, as a bridge between the government and
the Tuareg, had been in touch with the UN Country Team, and was in
any way still active. Video
here, from Minute 12:08.
Post coup Niger, French and Chinese investments not
Lo N'diaye responded with a series of buzz words -- chronical
vulnerability, development trends, sub regional Sahelian security
issues. She did not answer if China has made any contribution, only
emphasizing the the appeal for funds "is open."
is former colonial power France? Only days before, the UN's Resident
Coordinator for Guinea held a similar press conference, asking for
funds, although in Guinea's case some funds would go for elections.
The OCHA spokesman denied that was any connection between these two
humanitarian press conferences about countries with recent coups.
UN is fumbling elections in Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan. Could the
answer be putting a humanitarian face on military rule? Watch this
* * *
Coup Leader Reportedly Served on UN Missions, France, UN and Council
Shrug, on Guinea
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 19, updated -- The leader of the coup in Niger, Major
Djibo, learned while on UN Peacekeeping Missions in Cote d'Ivoire and
the Congo, it was reported.
Inner City Press asked the UN to confirm it, and on February 22
received the following:
Answer to your query on Niger coup leader
From: Yves Sorokobi at
To: Inner City Press
Date: Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 11:52 AM
Major Salou Djibo served in MONUC as a military observer from 06
August 2006 to 06 August 2007. At the time, he was a captain.
Concerning his alleged service in Côte d'Ivoire in ONUCI, we are
unable to confirm this report. Any service of this individual in
d'Ivoire would have been as a member of the Niger contingent deployed
Inner City Press asked the head of the
Department of Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy whether working
and ostensibly receiving training with DPKO makes a soldier more or
less likely to join or launch a coup. Video here.
Le Roy and his
fellow UN Under Secretary General John Holmes both laughed. Le Roy
responded that the UN cannot answer for what peacekeepers do after
their service, then countered with the example of former Nigerian
President Obansanjo. Some found it a weak defense, given charges
charges of irregularities in large infrastructure deals reached in
Obansanjo's days in power.
two USG spoke
in front of the UN Security Council, after a meeting about Haiti.
Inner City Press was told by a Permanent Five member's political
advisor that France was being "hesitant to raise Niger" in
the Council, despite the fact that it forces the Council to consider
attempts to overthrew Idriss Deby the strongman in Chad, another
French ex colony.
asked France's representative at the meeting, is anyone raising the
Niger coup? "You are," he replied.
Niger coup leader's spokesman, UN Peacekeeping
training not shown
camera, the French representative said that
neither Niger nor the delay of elections and increase of violence in
Cote d'Ivoire had been discussed in the Council on Friday.
France, the Council and Secretariat is the inclusion in Guinea's
interim government of Major Claude Pivi, a military officer named in
the UN's own report as likely being responsible for the massacre of
civilians last September 28. Inner City Press asked UN Deputy
Spokesperson Marie Okabe about it on February 17, and she referred to
a previous Ban Ki-moon statement lauding the interim government.
official on February 18 said he wasn't aware of it, and nothing was
said on Friday either. "Maybe Monday," a fleeing diplomat
said. And so it goes at the UN.
it is impossible to discuss Niger and the UN without recalling the
UN's stealth envoy to the country, Canadian Robert Fowler, who was
kidnapped while visiting a Canadian owned mine in the country. When
he was released, he said someone in the UN in New York might have
leaked his location and how to grab him. Then the UN tried to sweep
the whole thing back under the rug. Now, a coup. Might the rug become