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On Minova Rapes, DPKO Gets ICP Question, Gives Statement to Reuters Scribe

By Matthew Russell Lee


UNITED NATIONS, April 16 -- Reporting on the 126 rapes in Minova in November by the Congolese Army, Inner City Press before 10 am on Tuesday asked UN sexual violence in conflict envoy Zainab Bangura if the UN was still supporting the two Army units it had said it would suspend.

  Bangura replied to Inner City Press that support had been suspended, but to ask DPKO, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

  Inner City Press immediately asked DPKO and Ban Ki-moon's three top spokespeople, and asked at the noon briefing until cut off by Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky,

  He said DPKO would answer “quite shortly,” video here from Minute 11:25. But now a responsive statement has been given at least to Reuters, increasingly Herve Ladsous' DPKO's go-to scribes or lapdogs, but NOT to Inner City Press. An objection has been filed.

  At 10:14 am on April 16 Inner City Press e-mailed three questions to DPKO spokespeople Kieran Dwyer and Andre-Michel Essoungou, copying Ban Ki-moon's top three spokespeople Martin Nesirky, Eduardo Del Buey and Farhan Haq. On Minova:

At a briefing by Zainab Bangura just now, when I asked her about the Minova rapes she said, among other things,

1) that DPKO has suspended support to the two unit. She then told me to ask DPKO, so I am. Please confirm or deny.

2) that the general of one unit told her they have identified 33 suspected rapists. Please state if that is DPKO's understanding, and if so why the suspension of 12 (and arrest of 3) is considered sufficient by DPKO.

3) that one of the two units was trained by the United States. Is that DPKO's understanding? Please confirm or deny.

  Dwyer confirmed receipt, “I will need to communicate with the mission on the matters related to MONUSCO, and other colleagues on the other matters. I will get back to you. You will understand that this will take a little time. It's not clear to me what you mean by "on deadline" given the nature of your website publishing, but I will get back to you as soon as I can.”

  Inner City Press explained to all addressees, “Last Thursday, April 11 I asked at the noon briefing about the Minova rapes, and you were quoted giving the answer to the question to Reuters (but not Inner City Press) later that same day, which was then later given at the Friday, April 12 noon briefing. Inner City Press complained about that on April 12; the Free UN Coalition for Access is formally objecting. On this, note that Inner City Press has asked you these questions at 10:14 am, April 16.”

  Because the UN should have been able to immediately answer Inner City Press' question about having suspended or not having suspended support, Inner City Press went to the day's UN noon briefing and began asking.

  Nesirky cut the question off, saying that DPKO would be answering “quite shortly.”

  Then, without any response to Inner City Press from DPKO or Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson's office, Reuters via its scribe who has done this (and more) before reported:

The United Nations said in a statement on Tuesday it was still supporting the two battalions 'in view of a number of recent and appropriate actions being taken by the authorities.'”

  The most recent press release on MONUSCO's web site is from March 24.  Inner City Press immediately wrote to Dwyer, Essoungou, Nesirky, Del Buey and Haq:

I put in Inner City Press' questions at 10:14 am, and was asking at the noon briefing before being cut off and told that DPKO would be giving me answers "quite shortly." ... Now I have just read in Reuters: "The United Nations said in a statement on Tuesday it was still supporting the two battalions 'in view of a number of recent and appropriate actions being taken by the authorities.'"

This is a formal request -- where IS that statement? When and to whom was it given? Why was it not given to Inner City Press? How is this, along with USG Ladsous and spokesman microphone grab of December 18, 2012 and refusing to take questions, in any way acceptable?

  Of Michelle Nichols, Inner City Press has shown, including to Reuters big wigs Stephen J. Adler, Greg McCune, Paul Ingrassia and Walden Siew  and even the company “social media editor,” the filing of a manifestly false complaint with UN Security (in it claiming that when DPKO spoon-feeds information to Reuters, including answers to the questions Inner City Press has asked, it is a “Reuters scoop”).

  There's more, but the focus is on DPKO's -- and now Ban's Spokesperson's office -- new low. Watch this site.

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