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Amid Killing in Sudan, DPKO Says "No Peacekeeping Activities" From Kadugli Base

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 15 -- For months, the UN has been declining to answer questions about fighting in Sudan's Southern Kordofan, saying it has no access.

 Over the past two days there has reportedly been ground fighting near the capital of Southern Kordofan, Kadugli. But when Inner City Press asked about it Monday at noon, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky replied that he had no information about it. Why not?

  When Inner City Press asked earlier this month about shelling of Kadulgi, Nesirky confirmed it, noting that UN system staff in Kadulgi had been temporarily taken to a UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations logistics base five kilometers from Kadugli.

  After Inner City Press asked if DPKO peacekeepers in Southern Kordofan would report on killings they witnessed there, even while on the way to the mission in Abyei, Nesirky came back with an answer that

Inner City Press: I don’t know if you had another statement on Kadugli. What is the status?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, we have been checking. I don’t yet have a specific readout on the latest reported shelling, but we have already spoken very clearly about the first one, which we were able to confirm. But I just wanted to come back to you on one aspect of the questioning from yesterday. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations has no mandate to conduct peacekeeping operations in Kadugli or indeed in the wider Southern Kordofan area. And this would be a decision for the Security Council, not for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) is mandated to conduct peacekeeping operations only in the Abyei area. And the airstrip out of Kadugli is not in that mandated area of operations. It is a logistics base from which to re-supply and support the mission.

So I think you will understand that it is normal practice for peacekeeping missions to maintain logistics bases near the area of operations, to enable efficient logistical support. But, just to repeat, the mission has no mandate to undertake peacekeeping activities within this logistics base — and these activities are mandated within the Abyei area of operations, and that is, of course, in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions. I think that that is quite clear.

  And so despite fighting raging right near Kadugli, the UN so far has no information or statement. Does current DPKO leadership interpret or use "no mandate to undertake peacekeeping activities" to permit not even looking to see killing right next door?

  Inner City Press previously asked about the killing of a Rwandan police officer at DPKO's Haiti mission MINUSTAH and was told it was going to be investigated. Weeks later, no results have been released.

 On October 15 Inner City Press asked about the death of another UN peackeeper, from Ukraine, in Liberia, which the UN said is being probed.

  On October 12 Inner City Press asked about DPKO peacekeepers from Finland being robbed, possibly of weapons, in Lebanon. On October 15, having received no response, Inner City Press asked again and was told that DPKO had put together information which would be provided later. Watch this site.

Update: after Monday's noon briefing and the reiterated question, the following was provided:

Subject: Your question on UNIFIL
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 12:23 PM
To: Matthew R. Lee [at]

On 11 October, two UNIFIL vehicles performing a medical evacuation made a wrong turn and were stopped and blocked in the vicinity of the village of Ayta ash-Shab by a group of civilians. Several items and equipment belonging to UNIFIL were forcibly taken away. The Lebanese Armed Forces were dispatched to the area and, after they took control of the situation, the UNIFIL convoy was able to leave the village although the equipment was not returned to the peacekeepers.

The Lebanese Armed Forces informed UNIFIL that an investigation is underway to identify the perpetrators and to recover the stolen equipment.

How about identifying what this equipment was, that was taken?

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