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In DRC Buildup, UN Cites M23 "Disinformation,” No Mention of Minova; Hege

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 24 -- When the UN Peacekeeping mission in the Congo (MONUSCO) held a press conference on Wednesday, it mentioned the M23 rebels twelve times, and the FDLR only twice.

  Significantly, MONUSCO did not once mention Minova and the 126 rapes there by its partners in the Congolese Army.

  MONUSCO and Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous claimed they would be following up on the Congolese claim that 12 officer were either suspended or arrested. But apparently not.

  Instead, the MONUSCO read out says that M23 has been holding meetings to oppose deployment of the “Intervention Brigade;” MONUSCO calls this M23's “campaign of disinformation.”

  This is along the lines of the Congolese statement that the Intervention Brigade and the UN are demanding that M23 cease to exist as a military or political movement.

 Is this the right role for the UN? Is it the UN's right?

Meanwhile in other “disinformation” on the intervention brigade, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations will have a debate,

not with the reclusive Herve Ladsous -- who has repeatedly refused to answer Press questions about his views of and roles in the region, now and in 1994, see memo here -- but another Herve, Herve Lecoq.

  But who will Lecoq be “debating”?

  None other than Steven Hege, former coordinator of the “Group of Experts” on the Democratic Republic of Congo. As we've reported, Hege authored a piece dismissive of the FDLR militia, which was taken off the Internet as soon as Inner City Press linked to it.

  One would still like to get Hege on the record about his writings -- but his “debate” with DPKO's “Other Herve,” Lecoq, will be on the Chatham House Rule -- ideas can be quoted, but not who said them.

  Between Herve and Steve, it might be hard to tell them apart. The PEP talk will be at the UN Foundation, not in New York but in Washington, this Friday, April 26 at 9 am. Watch this site.

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