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In DRC, UN Supports Army, No Word If Rapists, Silent on Jail Break, Burundi

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 7, updated below -- The UN's envoy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Martin Kobler is, according to the UN, the person responsible to decide whether to keep supporting Congolese Army units which committed 130 rapes in Minova in November 2012. As of today, the support has not been cut or suspended.

Meanwhile the MONUSCO mission under Kobler, and ultimately Herve Ladsous, is often slow or silent. On June 6 Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq:

Inner City Press: in Bukavu, there was a big jailbreak. 300 convicted people broke out; there was a shooting apparently some death of police or FARDC [Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo]. Does the Mission there have any information on who escaped? Whether any of these people were [involved in the Minova rapes] there have been war crime trials, rape trials, and what’s their comment on it?

Deputy Spokesman Haq: Well, at this stage, of course, we’d first need to get the information from the authorities on the ground. It’s ultimately the law and order authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who would need to provide the information about what happened over the course of this incident. If we get any information from them the mission may react accordingly but they haven’t reacted yet.

  There's been no further information from Haq. Then came news of the slaughter of three dozen people, also in South Kivu. Silence from the UN and MONUSCO. Until a press release by Kobler, saying that MONUSCO is supporting the Congolese Army.

  What, the Minova rape units?

   The question will persist, because there is no transparency, and UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous outright refuses the questions, for example on May 29, here.

  In Burundi, human rights defender Mbonimpa is jailed for talking about a UN cable detailing the ruling CNDD party arming its youth wing. Mbonimpa named a camp in Eastern Congo, in South Kivu, where he says the youth gang is being trained.

  Why hasn't MONUSCO under Kobler and Ladsous gone to check? Now reportedly two Congolese journalists David Munyaga and Bienvenu Malega who themselves went to investigate are being chased by Burundi's army. We'll have more on this.

Update of 5:20 pm -- MONUSCO chief Martin Kobler to his credit responded, and we quote in full: @KoblerSrsg
@innercitypress what a nonsense Matthew, our policy on Minova is clear, on burundi attacks just issued a clear press release. Stay serious."

  But what IS the policy on Minova, specifically on applying the stated Human Rights Due Diligence Policy after only two soldiers were convicted for 130 rapes? Inner City Press has asked Kobler, and here.

 And on Burundi, has MONUSCO gone to check the Kiliba Ondes camp named by jailed rights defender Mbonimpa? If not, why not? Inner City Press has asked Kobler, and here. Watch this site.


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