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UN Won't Count Pibor Deaths, Relies on S. Sudan Government, Unlike Elsewhere

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 9 -- Last week in South Sudan the Pibor County Commissioner said that over 3000 Murle people were killed; several Murle community leaders blamed the South Sudan government and the UN peacekeeping mission for not doing enough to protect these civilians.

  Now, the head of the UN Mission, Hilde Johnson, has said there is "no evidence" for the casualty figures attributed to the Pibor County Commissioner.

Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky about Ms. Johnson's statement, and whether the UN will in fact come up with its own number of people killed, as it has in some other countries. Video here, from Minute 2:27.

  Nesirky said that Ms. Johnson and the UN commended the government -- which is being accused of partisanship in the conflict -- for beginning its own investigation.

  Since even in the UN Security Council some members have complained that the South Sudan government may not have done enough, Inner City Press asked Nesirky if since South Sudan might have a conflict of interest and not want to release a high casualty figure, the UN would issue its own count.

  Nesirky repeated that the UN commends the government. Some wondered at the discrepancy in which the UN reports casualty figures for some countries, including where it has no peacekeeping mission or much presence on the ground, but not for others.

(c) UN Photo
Ban Ki-moon envoy Hilde Johnson counts injured: but not the dead?

  Is this UN engaged in double standards? It would seem so. Watch this site.

Footnote: when Hilde Johnson was named Ban's envoy to South Sudan, largely at the pushing of the United States which is a major supporter of the South Sudan government, a number of Security Council members said to Inner City Press that it might be unwise to select such an "open supporter of SPLA."

  While Johnson may have functioned well as a child protection advocate, or Norwegian officials, being so closely linked with the government of a country in which one purports to represent the UN is a problem. We'll have more on this.

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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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