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In DRC, UN Orders Helicopters, 70mm Rockets, Ladsous' Arms Race

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 11, updated -- Is the UN fueling an arms race in Eastern Congo?

  Not only is UN Peacekeeping boss Herve Ladsous bringing in drones while refusing to answer questions -- now he is reportedly ordering up Rooivalk combat helicopters with 70 mm rockets called "relatively accurate and fired in ripples can be used as an area saturation weapon. Civilians will need to stay clear."

Is this really the UN under Ladsous, using attack helicopter with "relatively accurate" rockets from which "civilians will need to stay clear"?

This follows Ladsous' order for drone being fulfilled, now with a late November start date, by a brand, Selex ES Falco, which has previously crashed in Pakistan and Wales.

Ladsous won't answer Inner City Press' questions -- this was reiterated Thursday on a politely phrased question about a report on UN Peacekeeping and corruption, and was reported this week the UK New Statesman, here.

So Inner City Press on Friday asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's associate spokesperson Farhan Haq about the Rooivalk helicopters, already painted UN white, and about the UN role in the arms race of which its DRC envoy Martin Kobler is complaining.

  Haq did not answer the arms race question, or about the helicopters. But he did have an if-asked, that Kobler had complained to the Joint Verification Mechanism about a cache of weapons the M23 rebels are said to have, wanting to search it.

 Meanwhile Kobler who initially answered questions has gotten or been given the Herve Ladsous disease -- he does not answer tweeted questions no matter how factual.

  Unlike for example Rwanda's foreign minister and Haiti's prime minster, Kobler now will not answer tweeted questions: UNaccountable?

Is there yet a transcript of what his child protection chief Dee Brillenburg Wurth told the reporters handpicked by France to visit MONUSCO on the UN plane? Why was France allowed to choose which media could go on and cover the trip, when it co-lead only one of the trips four legs, and didn't send its Permanent Representative?

  Maybe Kobler can't answer the latter question without angering a major sponsor. But a transcript of what MONUSCO says, in contradiction to Group of Experts reports? That should be answered, and provided. Watch this site.

Update: hours after publication, this came in:

Subject: Your question on MONUSCO
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Fri, Oct 11, 2013 at 4:49 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Regarding your question on MONUSCO at today’s Noon Briefing, we have the following from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations:

In order to enhance MONUSCO’s capabilities in eastern DRC, the United Nations asked one of the Mission’s Troop Contributing Countries, the Republic of South Africa, to provide three attack helicopters and two utility helicopters to the Mission. South Africa has accepted the request and preparations are ongoing. MONUSCO also currently has attack helicopters from Ukraine and Bangladesh. MONUSCO will continue to use all assets in accordance with its rules of engagement.”


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