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As Kenya Soldier Kills 6 Somali Civilians, UN Accountable, Mahiga Cancels Q&A

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 24 -- For weeks the UN's envoy on Somalia Augustine Mahiga has declined to comment as the Kenyan Navy as fired shells into the town of Kismayo, killing civilians in mid-August.

    Inner City Press asked repeatedly about it, and was finally provided with a three week old statement by the UN's humanitarian on Somalia Mark Bowden, since re-assigned to Afghanistan.

  On September 24, after reports that a Kenyan ground soldier who is part of the UN supported AMISOM force shot and killed at least six civilians, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky what standards for accountability in such cases the UN has, for armed forces it supports. Video here, from Minute 31.

  Nesirky, who had previously responded that forces should "show maximum restraint" but had not answered on accountability when less then maximum, or no, restraint has been shown, insisted that he had already answered the question. He also said that the question could be put to Mahiga himself, who had a scheduled 4:30 pm press conference at the UN.

   And then, just before 4 pm, Mahiga canceled his press conference. So who is going to answer the question? There is a September 26 "mini summit" on Somalia, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Watch this site.

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