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UN Denied DRC Army Links With FDLR, Silent on Sanctions Report

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Full Text

UNITED NATIONS, June 30 -- Does the UN, or at least its Department of Peacekeeping Operations under Herve Ladsous, seek to ascertain and tell the truth? Or rather to cover it up and vilify those who seek it?

  Earlier this year Inner City Press published documents from the MONUSCO mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo showing that the UN knew of links between its partners in the Congolese Army and the FDLR rebels, linked to the genocide in Rwanda.

  The UN's response was for MONUSCO to issue a press release that

Kinshasa, 30 January 2013: Since yesterday, certain media outlets have been posting a document ascribed to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) which would confirm a cooperation between the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR) and the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC)... MONUSCO condemns the production and dissemination of such false information that can only contribute to an escalation of regional tensions in general and perpetuate the violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

  In New York, the Office of the Spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon repeated this line, while telling Inner City Press it would not even deny, much less confirm, “leaked” documents.

  Now the new UN Democratic Republic of the Congo sanctions report, which Inner City Press put exclusively online earlier yesterday, itself belatedly confirms a non-aggression agreement between the FARDC and FDLR, and the provision of weapons, ammunition and intelligence by the FARDC to the FDLR.

  Inner City Press has asked DPKO chief Herve Ladsous' four top spokespeople to comment on this -- and, incidentally, if they have a new position on their MONUSCO's above-quoted press release. They confirmed receipt more than 12 hours before this publication, but so far no substantive response.

  Ladsous in in Mali (where he is incorporating a UN listed child soldier recruiting country into DPKO's peackeeping mission MINUSMA to be so launched tomorrow). But Ladsous, ever since Inner City Press asked about his statements during the Rwanda genocide, has refused to answer Inner City Press' questions, video compilation here.

  On questions ranging from the 135 FARDC rapes in Minova through the kidnapping of UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights, DPKO's introduction of cholera into Haiti and Ladsous and Ban accepting as an adviser of a Sri Lankan military figure depicted in the UN's own report as engaged in war crimes, Ladsous' strategy has been to provide answers to Inner City Press' questions to other, friendlier journalists.

  Now evidence has emerged that for at least one of these outlets, the flow goes the other way to, with the provision to the UN of information ostensibly only for the UNCA group that the UN should not have, here. This is being pursued by the new Free UN Coalition for Access, @FUNCA_info.

  Here are a few sample paragraphs from the new UN Group of Experts DRC sanctions report which Inner City Press exclusively put online yesterday:

the FARDC first abided by a tacit non-aggression agreement with the FDLR. However, the declining security situation in eastern DRC, culminating with the fall of Goma on 20 November 2013, enhanced the collaboration between some FARDC units and the FDLR in areas of close proximity with M23-controlled territory. The Group has documented local-level collaboration between the FARDC and the FDLR, and continues to investigate the extent to which the FARDC hierarchy may be involved in such collaboration. The Group sent a letter on 12 June 2013 to the Government of DRC asking for clarification about this support and is awaiting a reply.

107. The Group interviewed 10 FARDC soldiers in Tongo, in North Kivu, who reported that FARDC and FDLR regularly meet and exchange operational information. These same sources stated that FARDC soldiers supplied ammunition to the FDLR. Col. Faida Fidel Kamulete, the commander of FARDC 2nd battalion of 601st Regiment based at Tongo, denied such collaboration, but declared to the Group that FARDC and FDLR do not fight each other. FDLR officers and an FDLR collaborator told the Group that “Col.” Jean-Baptiste Gakwerere aka Esdras Kaleb, who commands the FDLR deployed in Tongo is in charge of the coordination between FDLR and FARDC officers in the area.

108. Four former FDLR soldiers from Tongo and Bambo confirmed to the Group that FARDC soldiers had transferred ammunition to FDLR, with the instruction that it had to be used against M23. In January 2013, two FDLR former soldiers witnessed separately meetings between FARDC and FDLR in the Tongo area, at which they exchanged operational information. One of the soldiers told the Group that he saw FARDC transfer ammunition to FDLR during one of these meetings, while the second saw an FARDC officer give boxes of submachine gun ammunition to the rebels. Between January and April 2013, a former FDLR soldier witnessed four distinct ammunition transfers by the FARDC based at Bambo to the FDLR, while in February, another former FDLR soldier saw FARDC hand over ammunition to the FDLR, also at Bambo.

109. An FARDC officer and local leaders from Muja, 10 kilometers north west of Goma, also reported to the Group a pattern of collaboration between the FARDC and the FDLR. The FARDC has established positions at Muja and Rusayo to defend Goma against the M23. According to FDLR commanders, the FDLR North Kivu Sector CRAP unit under “Maj.” Alexis, usually based at the Nyamulagira volcano in the Virunga National Park, carries out regular operations in that area. The Group interviewed two former FDLR soldiers who surrendered from Muja, and both were aware of ammunition transfers from FARDC commanders. One of the former soldiers claimed to have witnessed the supply of boxes of submachine gun ammunition from FARDC soldiers to the FDLR.

As noted, questions have been put by Inner City Press to Ladsous four top spokespeople, including

This is a request on deadline for DPKO to state whether it or MONUSCO have provided any support to any of the following in the DRC:

FARDC 905th Regiment, under the command of Col. John Tchinyama, including filmed torture in Mambasa -- was the Ituri Brigade of MONUSCO there? What is the UN's response?

Col. Willy Bonane Habarugira acting commander of FARDC forces in the Safisha Operational Zone (Ituri) -- also, what is DPKO's / MONUSCO's understanding of his role in the looting of the UN in Bunia?

Col. Faida Fidel Kamulete, the commander of FARDC 2nd battalion of 601st Regiment based at Tongo (who is quoted that the “FARDC and FDLR do not fight each other” -- this is also a request, yes or no, if DPKO and MONUSCO still stand behind the January 30, 2013 press release [above].

These questions are asked in light of DPKO's stated conditionality and human rights due diligence policies; on that, and separate from the above, this is a request to receive any and all DPKO response to the DRC Sanctions Committee report.

There are other questions, these are on deadline, now.

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