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UN Stonewalls on Recruiting Mai Mai, After Flew Harun, Silva as Adviser

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 23 -- That the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo might want to recruit and further arm Mai Mai militia in North Kivu in an attempt to get the upper hand over the so-called M23 mutineers is one thing.

  But reports, not denied, of the involvement of the UN Mission in the Congo in both providing MONUSCO helicopter flights to such recruitment meetings, and taking part in them, again highlight how the UN has lost its way in the Congo.

  After nearly being thrown out of the country by President Joseph Kabila, the price for staying in has been to slavishly support the government and its often undisciplined army, the FARDC.

  The UN had carried ammunition to FARDC for action of dubious efficacy or human rights compliance.

  But at least on paper the FARDC is a governmental entity of the type the UN works with. How could the UN get involved in recruiting one militia to fight another?

  At Thursday's noon briefing Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky precisely this question. Video here, from Minute 3:15.

  Nesirky in replying did not cite any UN rule about working or not working with armed militia; he said "I think I would need to refer you to DPKO... you might want to check with them."

  As previously noted, DPKO chief Herve Ladsous has said openly, twice on camera, that he will not answer any Inner City Press questions. Video here, at Minute 28:10. And Ladsous spokesman Kieran Dwyer reiterated this in writing, and on camera. Video here, Minute 6:50.

  But this is a question that should be answer: how can the UN be playing a role in recruit a militia that the UN itself has been highly critical of?

  In Sudan, the UN provided free helicopter flights to Ahmed Harun, indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, click here for one of Inner City Press' exposes on this.

  This year, Ban Ki-moon and Ladsous accepted as a Senior Adviser on Peacekeeping Operations the Sri Lankan general Shavendra Silva, whose battalion is depicted in Ban's own Panel of Experts report as engaged in war crimes.

  Ladsous specifically refused to answer a question about Silva - this was the first time Ladsous said, "I will not answer questions" from Inner City Press. Video here, at Minute 28:10

  But in the Congo, the UN is going "hands on," reportedly flying to set up and participate in meetings to recruit what are, in essence, war criminals. How much lower can DPKO go, under Ladsous? How much more unaccountable can this UN become? Watch this site.

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