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As UN Stonewalls Press On Sudan Killings & DRC, Serves Ladsous' AFP

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 27, updated twice -- The UN has two Peacekeeping mission in Sudan and one in South Sudan, but fails to answer questions about any of them.

 On December 26, Inner City Press asked the top three spokesmen for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon this Sudan question: "please confirm or deny the capture of the Sudanese Army base at Golo, and the reported aerial bombing around it."

 But the UN never answered that question, instead providing to Inner City Press a dilatory response on the shooting down of a UN helicopter by South Sudan.

  And to another question that Inner City Press asked in writing to Ban's three top spokesman on both December 24 and December 26, they provide nothing to Inner City Press, but an on the record quote to Agence France-Presse.
The belated rationale, distinguishing Press questions about the presence of UN personnel in conflict zones from their relocation, doesn't hold water.

 Also on Sudan, back on December 24, Inner City Press asked the three top spokespeople to "please provide all available information on the killing of the four peacekeepers in Darfur." On this, they replied only that on Darfur, "we have nothing to add at the present time." And when they do, who will they hand it to?

 The head of DPKO is Herve Ladsous the fourth Frenchman in a row to hold the position, and by most accounts by far the worst and least responsive. On November 27 he refused to answer Press questions about Congolese Army rapes in Minova, then summoned into the hall a handful of favored media, including AFP.

 Ladsous was previously on one of AFP's board. And when Inner City Press exclusively reported that Ladsous was getting the UN DPKO job, as a last minute fill in for Jerome Bonnafont and that the French Mission to the UN didn't even know of the switch, it was AFP that began an anti-Press process against Inner City Press inside the UN Correspondents Association. We will have more on this as well.

On December 27, as well as demanding an explanation for the decidedly selective answering and a number of Ban Ki-moon administration seeming irregularities in hiring and recruitment, Inner City Press asked on Sudan / South Sudan "another DPKO question, even though the South Sudan helicopter question was deferred, and the question about the killing of the Rwandan UN Police officer in Haiti has never been fully answered:

"Please confirm or deny the bombing by SAF of the South Sudanese state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal on Wednesday, and whether five people were killed.

"Also -- it should certainly go without saying, but is now unclear given your Office's non response to Inner City Press' December 24 and 26 questions and then provision of a quote to AFP -- any and all information on which Congolese units were in Minova during the 126+ rapes, which FARDC units MONUSCO supports, and any suspensions of support in the last year."

 Watch this site.

Update of December 27, afternoon: the Golo question, posed at noon time on December 26, was answered on the afternoon of December 27, thusly:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 3:03 PM
Subject: Question
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at]

On Golo: DPKO advises that local sources have informed UNAMID of hostilities which took place between SLA-Abdul Wahid and the Sudan Armed Forces on 24 December in Golo, West Darfur, allegedly resulting in 20 Sudan Armed Forces personnel killed. Due to restrictions imposed on UNAMID by the armed movement and Government security forces operating in the area, the Mission, however, has been unable to verify the reports of fighting and associated casualties. In the meantime, the Humanitarian Aid Commissioner in West Darfur has informed humanitarian partners of civilian displacement towards Nertiti as a result of these clashes. UNAMID, in collaboration with humanitarian agencies, is attempting to independently verify this information.

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