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Minova Rapes by DRC Army Raised to Minister & Kabila by UK & Power

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, October 5 -- The mass rape of 135 women in Minova in November 2012 by two units of the Congolese Army to which the UN still provide support is an issue on which UN Peacekeeping has been far less than transparent.

When Inner City Press, which has inquired into the rapes with exclusives since last November, asked UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, he refused to answer at all. Video compilation here.

  More recently after spin UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky has said it is entirely a matter for the Congolese authorities -- this despite the UN's continued support to the 41st and 391st Battalion in seeming contravention of Ban's stated Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.

Now with the UN Security Council in Kinshasa for meetings, Inner City Press has reports from multiple sources that the issue was raised, including to President Joseph Kabila himself.

UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant to his credit gave an open answer less than an hour ago, by Twitter: "@innercitypress Yes we have just seen Pres Kabila. Minova crimes raised by me & others with Defence and Interior Ministers."

Inner City Press has further learned that the "others" referred to by Lyall Grant include US Ambassador Samantha Power, who raised the issue not only to the Defense minister and to the Interior minister (accompanied by the Justice Minister in the meeting with the Security Council) but to President Kabila himself.

A complaint is that the claimed investigation has been far too slow, and that only junior soldiers have been jailed. Inner City Press is informed that the Ministers responded that twelves officers were suspended, and may be prosecuted, after investigation.

How is this investigation taking from November 2012 until now, October, more than ten months later? And what is President Kabila's response?

It must be noted for the context of Ambassador Power's question to Kabila that the 391st Battalion was trained by the US. Inner City Press, after reporting, got a US Mission to the UN comment on it, here.

  French Ambassador Gerard Araud, who dropped out of the trip at the last minute after his Mission hand-picked which correspondents could accompany and cover the UN trip and rejected Inner City Press, had earlier told the Press that the units implicated in the Minova rapes were the DRC's "best" units.

  The Security Council is now dining with the DRC Prime Minister; tomorrow they head east to Goma. We will continue to cover the trip. Watch this site.

  For viewing: in this video, Ladsous refused to answer Inner City Press' question about the Minova rapes, then took into the hall some favored correspondents, including one individual selected by France for this trip, as well as Reuters and AFP: click here.

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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