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For Abuse in DRC, South Africa Charges 93 Troops, UN Says Nothing, Zero Truthfulness

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 12 -- With the UN in the midst of deploying a controversial "intervention brigade" in the Eastern Congo, South African Defense Minister Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has announced that 94 of its troops in the Congo have been charged with improprieties and that four have been "discharged" for sexual exploitation or abuse.

While any discipline is better than none, Inner City Press on June 12 asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey, "If someone is found guilty of sexual exploitation or abuse while on a UN peacekeeping mission, is it enough to discharge them from the army, or is some type of punishment expected, and how does this impact their service in the Intervention Brigade?"

Del Buey replied, "Well, Matthew, I will suggest you ask the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. We’ve received the reports and DPKO is looking into this right now. So, I suggest you ask DPKO a bit later on this afternoon."

DPKO chief Herve Ladsous has already repeatedly refused to answer Press questions about sexual abuse in the Congo, including 135 rapes in Minova by his partners in the Congolese Army. See compilation video here, and most recent (May 29) here. Forget the claimed "zero tolerance" -- it appears to be, "zero truthfulness."

  Since May 29, DPKO has not provided the requested update on actions taken on the 135 Minova rapes. DPKO's spokesman was bopping around the UN cafeteria mid-afternoon on June 12; still, no answer has been provided, on Minova or the new South African MONUSCO announcement, which Del Buey said DPKO is "looking into right now." Looking into what? Watch this site.

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