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Amid Shelling of Rwanda, UN Silent on Civilian Casualties, Reuters Phones It In

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 26 -- From Eastern Congo the shelling of neighboring Rwanda has continued. The Rwandan government has asked the UN to respond to the shelling of Kageyo Village, Rusuro Cell, Busasamana Sector was shelled, and the wounding of a 16 year old, Gisubizo.

On October 25, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: a DRC citizen, Catherine Gahombo was shot by FARDC and is now being treated in hospital, and I wanted to know if MONUSCO was aware of any civilian casualties caused by the DRC army, I am asking you whether they can confirm or deny that.

Spokesperson Nesirky: I will check on the civilian casualties, whether there is any further update for the Mission on that...

Inner City Press: if MONUSCO and the Force Intervention Brigade have protection-of-civilians mandates and itís often described only in terms of M23, FDLR [Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda] and the various armed groups, what about harm caused by the DRC itself, not only the Minova rapes in the past, but if it is true in this instance that their attack actually injured a 58-year-old woman. What MONUSCO doing? Can you imagine MONUSCO combatingthe DRC army oris it a protection-of-civilians mandate sculpted to only target harm caused by some groups and not others?

Spokesperson Nesirky: No, well, I think itís looking at it in a slightly roundabout way. The point here is that measures should be taken by the Mission under its mandate to protect civilians. That does not mean that civilians at some point are not going to get harmed. I need to look into that specific point that you have raised

  Twenty three hours later, no answer. And now, more shelling. In Eastern Congo UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous is in its own world. Yesterday after the UN Security Council session on the shelling of Rwanda, Ladsous left the Council without speaking to the press -- laughing, in fact. It has become a farce, as the UK New Statesman put it, here; see also Ladsous video here.

  Rwanda's Permanent Representative Eugene-Richard Gasana did speak right outside the Council, on the record, saying that if the UN and Congolese Army are not ready to stop the shelling, Rwanda will, "with laser precision."

  To Inner City Press, Gasana said clearly: the FARDC, the Congolese Army, fired the shells.

  Tellingly, Reuters which was hand-picked by the French Mission to the UN to accompany the "UN" trip France was allowed to lead through the Great Lakes region was not present outside the Council.

  Reuters reported: "Rwanda's U.N. Ambassador warned the 15-nation council on Friday during a closed-door meeting that Rwanda would not tolerate shelling of its territory and was in a position to respond militarily, a U.N. Security Council diplomat said."

So Reuters couldn't even use an on the record quote from the Permanent Representative of the country concerned, instead putting in in the mouth of an unnamed other Security Council diplomat. And the story while listing fully four reporters and two editors -- Kenny Katombe, Pete Jones, Edmund Kagire, Daniel Flynn, Andrew Roche and Tom Pfeiffer -- didn't list any of the six as in New York at the UN.

  Reuters UN bureau chief Louis Charbonneau, who has been exposed as spying for the UN and trying to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN, (he gave an internal UNCA document to the UN three minutes are promising not to do so, document here, audio here), claiming that his brand of no-show, wait to be handed documents by Western powers journalism is the only kind, was nowhere to be seen during this meeting on the Great Lakes.

 The correspondent hand picked by the French to go on the trip was in the building, but didn't cover the meeting, or get the easy to get quote from Rwanda itself.

  But the UN's Radio Okapi in the Congo breathlessly reports on FARDC advances; Ladsous' man in Kinshasa, Martin Kobler, re-tweets his own Okapi but doesn't reply to Council diplomats who just visited his little empire.

  Nor does Kobler respond any long to factual Press questions, like yesterday's. (By contrast, the UN's envoy in Somalia not only these days  responds, he follows up with previously promised answers.)

  Kobler has at least for now become, as it's put in the UN, "Ladsous-ified." Ladsous was the French Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN during the Rwanda genocide, arguing for the escape of the genocidaires into Eastern Congo. To this has the UN sunk. Watch this site.


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