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On Mali, Koenders Doesn't Mention Chad Troops' Rape, Minister Chides MINUSMA

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 16 (2d story here) -- With Mali slipping backward, UN envoy Burt Koenders gave a speech to the UN Security Council on Wednesday. Under the heading "human rights," he referred vaguely to "pervasive impunity enjoyed by different actors."

  But speaking of impunity, Koender did not mention the gang rape charges against Chadian "peacekeepers" in his Mission, MINUSMA, nor what had happened with the accused. Nor did he mention the mutiny of Chadian peacekeepers in the north that his mission was supposedly investigating.

  This follows Koenders' pattern from Cote d'Ivoire, where he never followed through in "his" peacekeepers inaction when perceived supporters of Laurent Gbagbo were killed in the Nahibly camp for internally displaced people. (Related Inner City Press at the UN YouTube video here.)

 But or so Koenders was rewarded with the MINUSMA job.

[Update: while Koender did not include the rapes in his statement to the Council, Inner City Press later asked him about it, click here. Koenders says the answers on Nahibly are in press conferences he has given. We hope to have more on this.]

  When Mali's Minister of National Reconciliation and Development of Northern Regions Cheick Oumar Diarrah came to the stakeout microphone after the Council's open meeting, Inner City Press asked him if Koender's MINUSMA is doing its "protection of civilians" job in the North.

  Diarrah said, or seemed to say, that MINUSMA should be more presented in Gao and Kidal. It was hard to understand Diarrah's answer, as the audio at the stakeout was full of echoes.

  The Free UN Coalition for Access @FUNCA_info has asked UNTV and its supervisor, Stephane Dujarric, for an answer. The system was privatized this year, to save money (and incidentally, break a union). You get what you pay for -- and this applies to MINUSMA too. Watch this site.


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