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In Sudans, UN Blind to Destruction, Holds Black Box Back, No End to Checking

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 14 -- The UN has three peacekeeping missions in Sudan and South Sudan, but either can't or won't answer basic questions about what is happening there.

  A week ago Inner City Press asked a simple question: what happened to the UN's "Protection of Civilians" strategy in Sudan?

  Whistleblowers told Inner City Press that the UNAMID mission showed it to the government in Khartoum in September, and nothing's been heard of it since. Inner City Press asked, did UN Peacekeeping allow Khartoum to veto the PoC strategy? No answer.

   Instead, on January 14 two semi-responses if not answers came in:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Subject: Your questions on Sudan
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at]

Regarding your questions last Friday and today about the reported destruction of a village in Darfur, the information we have from UNAMID is that the mission is aware of these incidents and is presently investigating.

Regarding your question last week about the downed helicopter in South Sudan: As a matter of policy the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) will not comment on an ongoing investigation. On this particular issue, the mission is working in close consultation with the authorities of South Sudan and Russia.

   So UNAMID, with a budget over $1 billion, cannot confirm or deny in three full days the destruction of a village in its coverage area.

  And while Russia has openly complained that it has not received the black box from the helicopter in which four of its citizens were killed by South Sudan, the UN says it is in "close consultation."

  Inner City Press understands that while the black box was to have been turned over to Russia on January 14, it has not been.

  Meanwhile, another Russia helicopter from UT Air has been shot at in South Sudan, and Inner City Press' Monday question about the village of Rockero, which the UN first said the Wali of North Darfur said had been taken by rebels, then corrected that to say the Wali didn't know.

   But why doesn't the UN, spending over $1 billion, know or say more? Watch this site.

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