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As Seleka Loots Bangui, France Protects Only Airport, Tries Koenders for Mali

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 15 -- After the UN Security Council's closed door meeting on the Central African Republic on Wednesday, a range of members told Inner City Press it is "chaos" there. The Seleka rebels, they said, are looting and the small MICOPAX force of 700 troops cannot stop them.

  Surprising to some is that while France has a force protecting the Bangui airport, France has "done nothing" to protect civilians. Some talked about giving France a mandate to do that; others said France has expressed no interest in doing it, mandate or not.

  They cannot be the policeman of all Africa, a France supporter on the Council told Inner City Press. Only Mali?

Meanwhile on Mali, Inner City Press' April 24 prediction that the UN envoy job would go to Bert Koenders -- despite his failure to investigate UN peacekeepers' (in) actions while internally displaced people perceived as Gbagbo supporter were killed at the Nahibly camp -- is becoming true.

 (Prodi losing out for Italian president took fellow Italian De Mistura out of the running, but why not the acting UNAMID chief from Niger?)

  As we've noted, Koenders pushes back at the press and is defensive of France (a pragmatic position for getting the UN job in former French colony Cote d'Ivoire) and of Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row atop UN Peacekeeping. And now Mali?

  Here's Inner City Press video of Amnesty International reviewing Koenders' ONUCI on Nahibly, here.

  Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky about Nahibly and Koenders at Wednesday's noon briefing. That, he said he'd look into. We'll have more on this. Watch this site.

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