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UN Buildings Burned, Congolese Killed, After Ladsous Refuses Questions

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 22 -- Amid mounting protests against the UN Mission in the Congo, from Bukavu to Bunia to Kinangani, Herve Ladsous the man in charge of UN Peacekeeping and the Mission refused to answer any questions about the protests, or the Mission's plans in Bukavu, in front of the Security Council on Wednesday.

  Now UN personnel have been attacked and UN buildings burned down; several Congolese protesters have been shot dead, at least three in Kisangani, click here (in French, a la Ladsous).

 In Bunia, at least six were killed, four of them students, click here.

  It has been noted that neither Ladsous' "MONUSCO or the Congolese Army fired shots to stop M23 from taking over Goma," and then Sake. But now those protesting the inaction are being shot and killed.

  On Wednesday, Inner City Press repeatedly and clearly asked Ladsous, "What about the protests in Bunia and Bukavu" and Kinsangani and "Would MONUSCO protest Bukavu?"  Video here, at Minute 10:13, 13:25 and especially 11:50.

   But Ladsous refused to answer, and his spokesman Kieran Dwyer ordered the UN Television boom microphone to be given for "une question en Francais" that did not concern the criticism of Ladsous and his Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

  Ladsous' refusal to answer particular media's questions is not only abnormal and distasteful -- it is, several UN sources say, irresponsible.

  Ladsous' failure to even try to explain or speak of the protests, when asked, stands in contrast to the way the vast majority of organizations, private or public, would deal with such threats to their personnel.

  But, as one UN source put it, "Ladsous has put his personal peeve over everything else, even the people he is supposed to be protecting."

  The rest of the UN system under Secretary General Ban Ki-moon blithely carries on, with the UN for top Humanitarian official Valerie Amos and the refugee agency UNHCR sending out messages for example calling on "all parties" to "meet their obligations" in Eastern Congo.

   Many say that MONUSCO did not meet its obligations in Goma and now Sake -- where a militia of dubious human rights compliance is now the one fighting the M23 mutineers -- and that Ladsous did not meet his obligations not only to Congolese but to those he was put in charge of serving. And what will happen next? Watch this site.

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