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UNSC Meets Paluku, Tried Link with FDLR, Visits Mugungu, 2008 Vow Failed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 5 -- As the UN Security Council visits Mugungu camp for internally displaced people and meets with North Kivu governor Julien Paluku, some things must be reported -- particularly because the scribes hand-picked by France to accompany the trip are not. Reporting. Anything.

  Mugungu IDP camp was there in 2008. On that Security Council trip, which Inner City Press was on even at an earlier stage of its reporting work at the UN, then French Permanent Representave Jean-Maurice Ripert "waded into the crowd in Mugunga IDP camp outside Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and said he and the Council are doing everything possible 'so you can go home.'"

  Inner City Press asked in its report on the trip, even then in 2008, "Does unqualified support for Joseph Kabila, and nodding dismissal of the country's legislature -- which questioned the politics and timing of the arrest of Kabila's main opponent -- qualify in this regard? Time will tell. On the other hand, the UN operationally is feeding and sheltering, sometimes in brutal conditions, destitute refugees and displaced people. In Mugunga, people live in huts of plastic sheeting, with floors of lava rock. Somehow 10,000 people are fed three meals a day."

  And that is the good work of the UN, or really, humanitarian agencies. But what of Ripert's 2008 promise, broadcast on France 24? Later in that trip, after a UN bullet shot a hole in the UN plane (from the inside), "in the Kigali airport, clutching a print-out an Inner City Press article, Ripert approached Inner City Press and demanded, 'Why did you write this?' How about, because it's true?"

Five years later, what has changed?

  As to Julien Paluku, his appearance in the UN Group of Experts report must be noted -- as well as allegations that he promoted contacts with the FDLR militia. From The Gulf Today / VirungaNews:

"an official in DR Congo’s North Kivu province, where the commander of the Rwandan Hutu rebel group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) is based, is tasked with persuading the FDLR to resume co-operation with the DRC army and to 'plan terror attacks on Rwanda. Two FDLR political cadres, traveling on Belgian passports, are currently in Rutshuru in North Kivu to meet the FDLR command and convince them to resume co-operation with the Congolese army,' spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said. She identified the men as Faustin Murego and Joseph Nzabonimpa, both resident in Belgium, and gave the numbers of the passports on which they are traveling. Makolo said the two flew into the Ugandan capital Kampala on an Egypt Air flight and then made their way to the North Kivu provincial capital Goma, with the help of DRC intelligence agents. Murego was a lieutenant in the former Rwandan army and now lives in the Belgian city of Liege, Makolo said. Nzabonimpa was also an officer in the former Rwandan army and now lives in Brussels, where he works in IT, she said. Still according to Makolo, North Kivu Governor Julien Paluku asked the UN mission in DRC to fly the two men to Walikale, a town deep in the forest, so they could meet FDLR commander Sylvestre Mudacumura."

  What will the Security Council members say or do about that? Forget the French picked scribes -- they only have eyes for the M23. That's why France choose them.

  From the Group of Experts report, in which Inner City Press obtained and then exclusively put online earlier this year (as credited not only by BBC and Bloomberg, neither of which asked to go on this trip unlike, say, BBC in 2008) but by Congolese publication like Le Potential:

"On 22 May 2013, aware of this ongoing problem of movement of bags and the confusion it created, local authorities took the decision to stop any movement of bags from Bisie mine to the village of Njingala, where minerals are stored or transported to Goma. On 27 May, in a letter to the Congolese Minister of Mines, the governor of North Kivu, Julien Paluku, requested authorization to release all the minerals stored in the village of Mubi."

  So Paluku wanted to release those minerals. Click here for Inner City Press report from a panel discussion of conflict minerals and the US Dodd Frank Act held Thursday night at the NYC Bar Association as the Council and the French picked scribes took off on their trip.

  Paluku raised some mineral (well, gold) issues earlier, implicating American and French nationals in illegal gold smuggling. Click here for Inner City Press story from 2011.

  Will US Ambassador Samantha Power raise that (as she did the Minova rapes by the US trained 391st Battalion of the Congolese Army, on which we continue to await a response from the US Mission to the UN, as it await a transcript requested from MONUCO)?

  Will France's Deputy Permanent Representative Alexis Lamek, who at the last minute replaced on the trip Permanent Representative Gerard Araud, after he picked the scribes?

  In 2008, at least France's Permanent Representative Ripert was ON the trip, making his promises, including in front of BBC. Now in 2013, France hand-picked media who don't even report, at least two of whom lack credibility, and didn't send its Permanent Representative. And what ever happened to Ripert's promise? Watch this site.


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