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In CAR, As French Disarm & Shoot Muslims in Bambari, UN Gives ICP Spin

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 23 -- After reports of French soldiers shooting into a crowd in Banbari in the Central African Republic, Inner City Press on May 23 asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it, video here:

Inner City Press: in the Central African Republic, in Bambari, thereís these reports of the French Sangaris force, at least according to some, firing into the crowd and a number of deaths.  And I wanted to know, is the Mission there aware of it?  And also, whatís the status of the various other instances where itís been said that the human rights component of the UN Mission in CAR ( Central African Republic) was going to look into things?  Did they ever issue a report on their findings?  Whatís happened in those cases?

Spokesman Dujarric:  Iíll check on both of those.  [He later shared a press release on Bambari, issued jointly by the United Nations, African Union, European Union and France.]

  But the press release shared, only in French, seemed more propaganda than investigation. As Google-translated:

Subject: Your question on Bambari
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: 2014-05-23 13:11 GMT-04:00
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at]
Cc: Stephane Dujarric [at]

Please see below a joint Communique by the UN in the CAR, AU, EU and France:

Representatives of the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union and the Central African Republic in France and find deeply regret the events that took place Thursday, May 22 Bambari.

These representatives had visited May 21 Bambari, alongside the representative of the Central Government, to remind armed groups in Bambari the need to implement the resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations and confidence-building measures implemented by international forces. The interviews conducted in this framework and meeting with the people at the end of this movement had led to a consensus for the peaceful implementation of these measures. The events raise the next strongest condemnation.

Peace in Central is the objective of the Central African people, the transitional government and the international community. It calls on all armed groups to cease violence and choose the path of dialogue and political debate to assert their expectations and claims groups.

  Observers say locals in Bambari were outraged that France's ambassador did not mention the threat from Christian anti-Balaka forces, and that France tried to disarm the Muslims with anti-Balaka so near. Is the UN totally captured by France? Will it get even worse as Frenchman Herve Ladsous take more control of the UN mission in CAR?

  France putting Muslims at risk in CAR is exactly when the UN's Navi Pillay warned about on January 20 -- but when Inner City Press asked outgoing French Ambassador Gerard Araud about it, he claimed there WAS not Pillay report, just as he claimed on May 22 that a US pilot in Syria "of course" would be taken to the International Criminal Court, click here for that.

   Back on May 1, a week after French troops reportedly killed five civilians in the "Cameroonian district" of the PK5 neighborhood in Bangui, Central African Republic, Inner City Press asked UN Humanitarian John Ging about it, and about the killing by ex-Seleka forces of three MSF aid workers and 13 patients in Boguila. Video here,and embedded below.

  Ging, making a plea for more international help, mourned the dead MSF colleagues but seemed to say that the only people raising questions about the troops who have come to CAR are those inciting violence. He did not mention killings by the Chadian troops; nor did he directly address that French soldiers killed five civilians, according to spokesman for the Muslim community in PK5 Abakar Moustapha.

  Moustapha said the French soldiers' raid on a house in the neighborhood when the Senagalese owner was not there led to opposition from residents, to which the French responded with helicopter and gunfire killing five civilians.

   After a previous incident in which the French Sangaris troops were reported to have killed civilians, Inner City Press asked the UN what its mission there would do. Reference was made to an investigation, but no results have been announced. French Ambassador to the UN Gerard Araud stopped responding to such Press questions.

   Now the UN mission in CAR is set to be taken over by Frenchman Herve Ladsous' Department of Peacekeeping Operations and no longer the Department of Political Affairs. Given the history, will this hold the French forces more or LESS to account?

  Ladsous visited Brazzaville, Chad and now CAR, speaking to a UN microphone. At least Ging answers questions.

   When Chad's Permanent Representative to the UN Mahamat Zene Cherif -- who on April 30 told Inner City Press that Chad will not be any part of MINUSCA -- came to the Security Council stakeout on March 7, beyond asking him about child soldiers Inner City Press asked him about those who have had to flee Central African Republic into Chad. Shouldn't they be able to return to CAR? Video here and embedded below

Mahamat Zene Cherif said while Chad will not force anyone back, they should be able to return. He said that eighty percent of the Muslims have been chased out of the CAR.

How can elections be held this way, he asked.

Inner City Press asked if perhaps those displaced could vote even while in Chad. Mahamat Zene Cherif said the UN could check the feasibility, but that Chad would hope the displaced could return to CAR.

  The day before, Inner City Press tried to ask French Ambassador Gerard Araud about a statement or report by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay that the French Sangaris force first disarming the ex-Seleka had left Muslim community vulnerable to attack by Christian anti-Balaka militias.

  Araud refused to take the question while at the microphone, then from the wings insisted there is no Navi Pillay report. Click here for that.

  What forces allowed 80% of the Muslims in CAR to be chased out? And what responsibility do they bear? Watch this site.


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