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On Minova Rapes, UN Cites 2d, “Final” Feb 18 Letter to DRC Army, Ladsous' Lapdogs AFP & Reuters

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 8 -- For three and a half months, Inner City Press has been asking the UN, from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on December 19 and March 5, to his head of Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, about the 126 rapes in Minova by the Congolese Army, the UN's partners.

   On March 8, Inner City Press asked again, video here at 4:10.

  After the most recent question to Ban, on March 7 Ladsous' Department of Peacekeeping Operations gave vague answers not to Inner City Press, but to a select group of more friendly journalists. The resulting reports, in Reuters, AFP and elsewhere, made DPKO look good, but falsely.

  On March 8, Inner City Press calmly told the AFP and Reuters scribes, Tim Witcher and Michelle Nichols respectively, what it thought of their “reporting.” Both then showed up at the day's noon briefing -- to suddenly ask questions about the Congo rapes.

   But their questions showed how little they knew about the case they had just praised the UN about.

  Witcher confused the number of witness statements with the number of rapes. Video here, from Minute 8:54.
  Nichols, who could have asked her handlers at DPKO before typing her story, asked how many Congolese soldiers may have been involved. Video here, from Minute 9:56.

   Weeks ago Inner City Press asked the UN how only two soldiers, the number then and now arrested for rape, could have committed 126 rapes.

   At the March 8 noon briefing Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky announced that there was a second, “final” injunction to the FARDC on February 18. He called this initiating the process to suspend support under Ban's stated Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, not the suspension itself.

   Inner City Press asked which two Congolese units, and what the deadline is. Nesirky did not answer either question, saying he did not have the information.

  Clearly DPKO knows - but either its favored scribes didn't ask, or it didn't answer -- and the scribes neglected to mention this stonewalling, so eager to lazily praise DPKO and Ladsous to get this easy access.

   There are among the reasons this UN does not improve. There are others. Watch this site.

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