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UN Still Won't Answer on Minova Rapes, Pitches Panzi, Ladsous Schmoozes, Flees

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 17 -- After at least 70 rapes by the Congolese army in Minova in late November, Inner City Press on Decmeber 17 again asked at the UN, who did it, and does the UN work with them?

  Hours later, the UN replied with "the answer to your question about DR Congo: MONUSCO is continuing its investigations of the reported rapes in Minova."

  But Inner City Press has asked which FARDC units were in Minova in late November, and which FARDC units the UN work with -- both of which top UN Peacekeeper Herve Ladsous has simply refused to answer.

    So late Monday Inner City Press put the question to Ladsous' follow USG Valerie Amos, who has promised to revert.

   Inner City Press asked other questions on Monday:

Inner City Press: there was a pretty good high-profile police major of the Congolese National Police, Bertin Shimumano, who was apparently shot and killed over the weekend in Goma, and I wanted to know if MONUSCO has any idea who may be behind that. There are also reports of not only an FARDC [Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo] build-up in Goma, but some allied militias, some of whom have shown up in UN human rights reports, Mai Mai units, and I wanted to know, what is MONUSCO’s role in what is perceived to be build-up for maybe another battle of Goma and are they going to support FARDC? Have they decided which units they would support and these militias and also if, is there any update on the Minova incident and which FARDC units are, were present at the time of those 70-plus rapes?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: Thanks, Matthew, if I have anything further beyond what I have said today in what I was able to read out, then I will let you know. I don’t have anything further on the particular questions that you have raised.

Inner City Press: But since MONUSCO is reporting on this build-up of M23, I wonder is it still within their mandate to look at build-up of other militias equally accused of human rights violations, or have they shrunken their mandate down to that?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I am sure MONUSCO, I am sure the mission is operating within its mandate and doing everything that it can do. But, I do not have any specific details on precisely what you are driving at at the moment.

Then came this limited response:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 8:20 PM
Subject: DR Congo
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at]

Please, find the answer to your question about DR Congo: MONUSCO is continuing its investigations of the reported rapes in Minova. The director of the Panzi hospital, Doctor Mugwebe, was attacked but never shot. His gardener tragically died during the attack. Dr. Mugwebe is currently in Brussels and visited UNHQ on Friday.

That's great, but it's not what was asked. And Monday evening in the Delegates' Entrance Herve Ladsous showed up, not to answer these questions but to schmooze for ITAR-TASS, then disappear. This is not diplomacy, this is not the UN, this is not acceptable. Watch this site.

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