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As Fails in DRC, Ladsous' DPKO Won't Say How Damaged Or What Militia Works With

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 23 -- Two days after UN Peacekeeping boss Herve Ladsous refused to answer Press questions whether troops under his command would even try to protect Bukavu, and for his response to protests against UN personnel there and in Bunia and Kisangani, Inner City Press put these and other questions to the UN in writing.

  As to the UN's Mission in the Congo, MONUSCO, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman at what would have been noon briefing time, if one had been held, to "Please describe any and all of MONUSCO's interaction with or support of elements of the Mai Mai or NYATURA so far this year."

  Already, after Inner City Press repeatedly asked, the UN belatedly admitted flying Congolese authorities to meet members of a Mayi Mayi militia, which the authorities described as recruiting the militia to fight the M23 mutineers.

  But after than three hours on November 23, it was Ladsous' spokesman Kieran Dwyer who purported to respond. But on this, all he said was "I am looking into this."

  Inner City Press also asked Ban's spokespeople to "please specify all damage or injury to UN system staff, facilities or property in the Democratic Republic of Congo since November 20, including but not limited to in Bukavu, Bunia, Goma, Kinshasa and Kisingani."

  More than three hours later, all Dwyer responded with was, "I am looking into this."

  How could the Department of Peacekeeping Operations purport to have no answer to this? Since November 20 and 21,  UN personnel have been attacked; several Congolese protesters have been shot dead, at least three in Kisangani, click here. In Bunia, at least six were killed, four of them students, click here (all in French, a la Ladsous).

  UN buildings have been set aflame, rocks thrown at cars, mortars reportedly fired at the MONUSCO base in Monigi. But past 5 pm in New York, no information at all was provided.

  Back on November 21, it was Kieran Dwyer who for Ladsous asked UN personnel to not give Inner City Press the microphone as its question "would MONUSCO protect Bukavu" was asked. Video here, at Minute 10:13, 13:25 and especially 11:50.

   Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's three spokespeople to "please state the Secretariat's position on its Department of Peacekeeping Operations' spokespeople directing staff of the UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit and UN Television / audio to hold the Security Council stakeout microphone away from Inner City Press, most recently by spokesman Kieran Dwyer on November 21." Video here, at Minute 10:13, 13:25 and especially 11:50.

  This question was paradoxically referred to Dwyer himself, and he did not purport to answer it or even claim "I am looking into it."

  Previously, Kieran Dwyer demanded that Inner City Press censor a mention of Ladsous from a quote given on the record by a Security Council ambassador.

  Among the November 23 noon requests to Ban's spokespeople by Inner City Press, there was another, entirely factual question about Herve Ladsous which was referred to Dwyer, but to which he did not even say "I am looking into this."

  Meanwhile, Ladsous' Department of Peacekeeping Operations is issuing short statements saying it is focused on protection children. How? We will have more on all this.

 On drones, Inner City Press had asked Ban's spokespeople, "How would such [drone] use be consistent with USG Ladsous' statements to the C34, which were never approved or acted on, and USG's Ladsous' statements since?"

 Kieran Dwyer, saying the questions were referred to him, on this emailed back: "the consideration on utilising unarmed aerial vehicles in eastern DR Congo is one of a set of measures which DPKO is considering in response to the Security Council request for proposals on how to strengthen MONUSCO's capabilities to fulfil its mandate to protect civilians."

  So does Ban Ki-moon's UN believe that only the Security Council would need to approve drones? Or the member states of the General Assembly? Watch this site.

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