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In Darfur UN Silent on Copters, Unaware of Militia, Checking on Attacks on Army

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 27 -- Again Darfur must be mentioned alongside the UN's failure in Eastern Congo, where peacekeepers under the command of Herve Ladsous did nothing as the M23 mutineers took over Goma and now other towns.

  While the UNAMID mission is ostensibly less identified with the Sudan government than MONUSCO is with Kinshasa and the FARDC, still it appears that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations said little or nothing as Sudan placed limits on its use of tactical helicopters.

  And now it emerges that the helicopters, announced with such fanfare in 2010, have more quietly been removed. Inner City Press asked about this at Tuesday's UN noon briefing, with no response as of four hours later.

  It took DPKO four days to respond to this Darfur question which Inner City Press submitted on November 23: "Please state UNAMID's / DPKO's knowledge of and if applicable action on allegations that North Darfur Governor Osman Youssef Kibir is forming a private militia."

  On November 23, DPKO spokesman Kieran Dwyer to whom it was referred responded, "I am looking into this." Then nothing on it until November 27, when another DPKO spokesman replied: "Neither UNAMID nor DPKO have credible information at this time which indicates that the Governor of North Darfur has a private militia."

 A wag might note, UNAMID no longer has tactical helicopters to even seek such information.

  Back on November 24, Inner City Press reported on "the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdelwahid Nur saying they had taken over an army base near Kebkabiya."

 Now on November 27, the UN has sent Inner City Press this:

Subject: Your question on Darfur
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 2:11 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [

We have been told that a patrol from UNAMID's Kabkabiya team site, located approximately 140 west of El Fasher, was informed by the local population that unidentified armed men attacked a Government checkpoint on the morning of 23 November. The attack was said to have taken place in Idianbak, located about 40 kilometers east of the Mission's team site.

Subsequent information relayed by the local Government police confirmed the incident, which reportedly killed 22 Sudanese military personnel and injured four others. No civilian casualties were reported. UNAMID's Kabkabiya team site is taking action to verify further details.

   The actions taken to verify will presumably not include tactical helicopter flights. Watch this site.

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