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On DRC Brigade, Rwanda FM Reply to ICP Spun by UN's Okabi, Via Lurking AFP

By Matthew Russell Lee, Media Circus

UNITED NATIONS, April 16 -- When Rwandan foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo was about to leave the UN Security Council stakeout on April 15 after answering an Inner City Press question about the International Criminal Court, she paused and Inner City Press asked her one more question. Video here, from Minute 8:10.

This second question concerned the so-called intervention brigade being added to the UN mission in the Congo, MONUSCO.

Inner City Press asked if its mandate should focus on the FDLR militia or the M23 rebels. Mushikiwabo's answer, which Inner City Press immediately reported, was that the brigade should only be a deterrent, that military force alone cannot solve the Congo's problems. Click here for Inner City Press' story of Monday afternoon.

Now, on Tuesday, MONUSCO's station Radio Okapi has re-reported Mushikiwabo's response, saying it was delivered “to the press” after a meeting in which it emphasizes seven countries wanted to include a reference to the ICC in the Rwanda-drafted Presidential Statement.

Among the ironies here is that MONUSCO earlier this year denounced Inner City Press for publishing a leaked memo recounting the mission's knowledge of Congolese army support for the FDLR.

In a press release put on its website, MONUSCO criticized Inner City Press for not checking with it before publication. But the Media page of MONUSCO's web site had, as contacts, no e-mail address.
And when Inner City Press asked the Office of the Spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the response was that they do not comment on leaked documents.

   Soon after MONUSCO's denunciation of Inner City Press, the UN conducted a non-consensual raid on Inner City Press' office, rifling through papers and taking photographs of its desk and bookshelf, which it later leaked to BuzzFeed after Ban's spokesman received a question from that media about the raid.

Given all this it is, yes, ironic that MONUSCO would publish Minister Mushikiwabo's response to Inner City Press' question about what will be, at the direction of the questionable Herve Ladsous, a part of MONUSCO. Should we expect another raid?

Footnote: a further irony is the MONUSCO names a middleman for the quote: Agence France Presse.

  At the Security Council stakeout on April 15, AFP's Tim Witcher arrived but stood in the back, never stepping forward to ask a question. But apparently he or his more Francophone collaborator upstairs scribbled down Mushikiwabo's response, and package it for sale.

As we've noted, most recently Witcher filed a false complaint against Inner City Press leading with its supposedly too aggressive question to Herve Ladsous about the 126 rapes in Minova by the Congolese Army, Ladsous' partners.

AFP's Witcher looks on, false complaint for Ladsous brewing? (c) UNTV

  AFP's Witcher's complaint should have been dismissed out of hand but wasn't, due to the UN's ongoing lack of rules, as raised by the Free UN Coalition for Access.

  It is not for AFP to tell Inner City Press, much less complaint to UN Security, about questioning methodology. Especially from what is now exposed as a lurking troll. Watch this (para) site.

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