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In Goma, UNSC Hears of Rapist Cheka, Any Follow-Up on Minova Rapes by DRC Army, Mayele?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 5 -- It's all coming together. Or is it? Now the UN announces that its envoy on Sexual Violence and Conflict, Zainab Bangura, will be in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the same time as the Security Council.

  So will answers belatedly be given, publicly, about the 135 rapes in Minova in November by units of the Congolese Army to which UN Peacekeeping continues to provide support?

  Inner City Press asked Bangura, and UK foreign secretary William Hague, about accountability for the Minova rapes back on September 24 at the UN General Debate. Video here, from Minute 7:22.

  Hague referred the question to Bangura, since it had to do with the UN. (This seems strange, since it is member states, particularly the Permanent Five with which Secretary General Ban Ki-moon now almost exclusive deals on the matters he deems important, which oversee the UN.)

  Bangura first answered about sexual exploitation, meaning abuse by UN Peacekeepers themselves: the Sri Lankan peacekeeper in Haiti (no update), the Chad MINUSMA soldiers accused of rape in Gao (natch).

  Then she told Inner City Press that the best place to ask about the Minova rapes is "DPKO." But Department of Peacekeeping Operations chief Herve Ladsous has repeatedly refused to answer Inner City Press questions about Minova and other abuses. Video compilation here.

As Inner City Press reported yesterday, while the French picked scribes on the trip either trashed Rwanda (Reuters) or wrote a UN fluff piece (VOA), US Ambassador Samantha Power raised the issue to DRC President Joseph Kabila, and UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant raised it to three ministers.

  But what was the response? Inner City Press has asked the US Mission to the UN, including because one of the Minova rape units, the 391st Battalion, was US trained, and others. The answers should be public.

Meanwhile of the commander of a previous mass rape at Wakikale, Mai Mai Cheka a/k/a Ntabo Ntaberi, MONUSCO chief Martin Kobler tweeted, en francais bien sure, "Le chef de bureau de Goma nous informe sur les negociations en cours a #Pinga entre #Cheka et Janvier (#APCLS)."

  That is, the Head of MONUSCO's Goma office gave then an update on the negotiations taking place at Pinga between Janvier of APCLS and Cheka.

  Does MONUSCO so blandly give updates on talks involving mass rapists? And what is the reaction? Inner City Press has asked.

  In 2010 Bangura's predecessor Margot Wallstrom bragged of the arrest of ‘Lieutenant Colonel’ Mayele. But what ever happened with him?

  What has happened with the two Congolese Army officers, jailed for human rights abuses, who recently escape with help from the prison at Bukavu? Inner City Press twice asked Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky, and neither time did he answer. Where is the follow-through? Watch this site.

Ban Ki-moon's Spokesperson Martin Nesirky on camera admitted that the decision on which media would be allowed to go on and cover the UNSC's Africa trip was made "in consultation" with the lead mission for the trip: France. Inner City Press YouTube channel video here:

This was sent to Inner City Press:

From: Jerome Bernard [at]
Date: Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 6:46 PM
Subject: Re: Security Council trip to Africa
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at] InnerCityPress [dot] com
Cc: Free UN Coalition for Access @FUNCA_info

Hi Matthew,

I am sorry but because of the very limited number of seats in the UN plane it won't be possible for you to travel with the Security Council for this trip to the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

I am sure there will be other opportunities for travel in the future.

Best regards,

Jerome Bernard
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Inner City Press was told that Bernard would be providing information from the trip. Then not. Watch this site.


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