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On Sudan, UN Won't Confirm Darfur Attacks, US Still Nothing on 12 Murders in Unity

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 6 -- As the Darfur Peace Agreement unravels and the pace of death escalates in South Sudan the UN, and surprising to some the US are slow and reticent to investigate and comment.

On December 6, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky about Omar al Bashir's targeting of his one ally in Darfur, Minni Minawi:

Inner City Press: in Sudan over the weekend, the President [Omar al-]Bashir Government has raided the offices of the transitional Darfur regional authority and has said Minni Minawi’s faction is now a target, a military target for the Government, if previously they were an ally of the Darfur Peace Agreement, and that they’re going to the South and will now be fighting. What is the comment of the UN on the total unravelment of the Darfur Peace Agreement?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I have seen the reports. I don’t have any specific comment at the moment. But I know that my colleagues are checking with the Mission on that. But we’ve certainly seen the reports.

Inner City Press: Okay. And they’re going to try to verify this raid on the transitional Darfur regional authority?

Spokesperson: I’ve heard what you’ve said, and certainly we’ll try to check on that.

Hours later, there was no confirmation. On December 3, the UN belatedly confirmed to Inner City Press the death of 10 SPLM soldiers and two civilians in South Sudan:

Sudan authorities riding high, UN confirmation and US comment not shown

Inner City Press: there is a report that the SPLA [Sudan People’s Liberation Army] is saying that 12 of their soldiers have been killed in an ambush by government-supported militias in Unity state. So, it seems like it’s a pretty high number in a big clash. I wonder if it’s something the UN has heard of and can confirm or deny or is going to go verify it.

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, what I have been told is that we are aware that an SPLA truck with approximately 35 soldiers and their families was reportedly ambushed by an unknown group around 8 o’clock. This was on 1 December between Tamoa and Tubarit in Unity State, as you said, while traveling from Mayom to Bentiu — excuse my pronunciation of these places — a joint monitoring team that comprised SAF [Sudan Alliance Forces] and SPLA and led by the UN Mission in Sudan that went to Bentiu hospital where most of the casualties were brought by an SPLA truck. And the first report by that monitoring team confirms that 11 people were killed on the spot. And then one died in the hospital I just referred to. Ten people were wounded. However, the identity of the attackers is still not known. The team, I mean, the monitoring team, will be conducting patrols to the incident site and will meet with SPLA commanders and local authorities to try to further investigate this. That’s what I have for you.

Inner City Press: But does, I mean, I guess without knowing, the SPLA has said that they believe it’s a government-backed militia, and I just wonder, does the UNMIS [United Nations Mission in the Sudan] see any connection between this and the upcoming referendum? Is this viewed [inaudible]?

Spokesperson: As I’ve said, they’re investigating it.

  After this at least partial confirmation, Inner City Press on December 3 e-mailed the US Mission to the UN, this month's Security Council presidency, to ask both for US comment on the killings, and if the Council would take them up. As of the close of the Council's business on December 6 there was no answer. Watch this site.

As UN Belatedly Confirms Khartoum Bombing of S.Sudan, UNSC Has Yet to Consider It

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 29 -- After reports of Sudanese Armed Forces bombing in the Kiir Adem area of Northern Bhar el ghazal State, last week the UN refused to confirm the attacks, as it has refused to confirm or deny more than a week of bombing in Jebel Marra in North Darfur.

Inner City Press on November 29 asked again, as Southern Sudanese were fleeing the area from fear of more bombings by Khartoum.

  This time, UN acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq answered with a prepared statement, that a patrol of the UN Mission to Sudan on November 25, the US Thanksgiving when the UN in New York was closed, confirmed the bombing. Video here, from Minute 8:53.

Haq said he had been informed that 1500 people were displaced, and that UNMIS filed reports of the bombing with bodies including the Ceasefire Joint Monitoring commission.

  It is not clear, particularly given the questions asked last week, why the UN waited to be asked a second time in order to read out this prepared statement. The UN canceled its noon press briefing on November 26, despite the UN in New York ostensibly being open.

UN in Northern Bahr al ghazal State in Oct 2010, confirmation of bombing not shown

  Moments after Haq's belated confirmation on November 29, Inner City Press asked the president of the UN Security Council for November, UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, what the Council thinks of the bombing in Northern Bhar el ghazal State, particularly in light of the referendum scheduled for January 9, 2011. Video here.

Lyall Grant said that no one had raised it in the Council that morning -- the topics inside the Council included North Korea and Somalia, and outside focused on Wikileaks -- but that since the Council remains seized of Sudan, it will probably come up. Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

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

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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