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On S. Sudan, Ladsous Won't Answer UN Charge Ghana Troops Not in Bentiu

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 23 -- Days after mass killings at Bentiu and Bor in South Sudan, the UN Security Council belatedly met on Wednesday evening. Afterward UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations chief Herve Ladsous came out and took three questions, curtly.

  The UN itself says that the Ghanaian battalion -- the shipment of whose weapons by land to Bentiu triggered an objection by South Sudan's government and a report by Ladsous' DPKO that has yet to be publicly released -- was not in Bentiu to even try to stop the April 15-16 killings.

   Inner City Press put this question to Ladsous both on and off UNTV's camera, but he refused to answer it. Video here and embedded below. Criticisms of his DPKO are spreading, but Ladsous refuses to answer them.

  Back on April 22 Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the Ghanaian contingent:

Inner City Press: on South Sudan, I saw that Mary Cummins, who is the acting Coordinator for Unity State, really sounded the alarm that they need more forces there. And she said, “we need the Ghanaian battalion to arrive soon”. I thought that was the battalion whose weapons that were found in the boxes--

Spokesman Dujarric: Let me find out.

  But more than 24 hours later Dujarric, or ultimately Ladsous' DPKO, had not provided any answer. So Inner City Press put the question to Ladsous at the stakeout. Ladsous refused to answer it, pointedly calling first on Reuters, then Voice of America, then on state-owned France 24.

  Then Ladsous lumbered from the stakeout microphone and up the stairs, with a retinue of DPKO staff, many of whom worked under Alain Le Roy and even Jean-Marie Guehenno but now enable this decay within UN Peacekeeping.

  From inside the closed consultation, the French mission's spokesperson tweeted that a film was being screened of Bentiu. This was confirmed to Inner City Press by an actual ambassador in the meeting; at the stakeout afterward Inner City Press asked Security Council president Joy Ogwu of Nigeria if the film was only about Bentiu and not Bor and she said Yes, only about Bentiu.

  The April 15-16 killings in Bentiu have been attributed to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in Opposition led by former vice president Riek Machar, who has denied that his forces killed civilians. Likewise, the April 18 murders inside the UN peacekeeping camp in Bor have been attributed to supporters from the Dinka tribe of president Salva Kiir, and statements by his information minister bear this out.

  The UN has alleged that in Bentiu the victims were targeted based not only on tribe but nationality. One response was that Darfur rebels from the Justice and Equality Movement who were fighting along with Kiir's government forces were killed, but not civilians.

  In this environment, for UN Peacekeeping to be run by an official who can't even answer basic questions is a major problem. Watch this site.


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