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Amid Cover Up of FARDC Rapes in Minova, UN Quick to Clear FDLR in Masisi

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 2 -- Since the 126 rapes by the Congolese Army and Police in late November in Minova, the UN has claimed it cannot say which Army units were there, pending an investigation.

   Inner City Press asked which Army units the UN works with. Top Peacekeeper Herve Ladsous refused to answer, and had his spokesman seize the UN Television microphone. Video here.

  Between Christmas and New Year, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's top spokespeople several times for an update on Minova, and on the implementation of Ban's claimed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy. Each time it was said that the investigation continues.

   But on January 2, the UN mission in the Congo MONUSCO issued a press release containing conclusions, not about the events in Minova in November, but about a probe it conducted in Masisi from December 21 to 24, to shoot down rumors about the Hutu FDLR rebels.

   So when the UN wants to quickly look into something and make a public announcement, for example to clear the FDLR, it can and does. But it continues to delay issuing any finding about the rapes committed by its partners in the FARDC. This is shameful.

   MONUSCO's January 2 press release was to dispute "the following persistent rumors:

that 4,000 FDLR members accompanied by their dependents arrived at Kazibake through Zambia; that two white-colored helicopters with no UN logo flew over the space between Nyange and Lwama on 13 December; that a there is a new commander of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), in Kivuye and his name is Bakota; that weapons and ammunitions were supplied to FDLR by means of Government military aircrafts."

   MONUSCO says, "At the end of the mission, the team concluded that those allegations were all unfounded," but goes on to emphasize that "it has carried out several joint operations with the Congolese army in order to reduce the capacity of the armed groups including FDLR, to cause trouble."

   But WHICH units of the Congolese army has MONUSCO worked with? Which were in Minova during the mass rapes in late November? And how will the UN explain the difference in speed of the two inquiries and (one) announcement? Watch this site.

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