By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive
UNITED NATIONS, July 16 -- In the UN's continued withholding of news and answers about South Sudan, the reports of the UN's own knowledge of abuses are now being withheld from its own impacted national staff.
As Inner City Press has reported including leaks, the UN on February 19 and April 16 ousted and evicted it, petition here, and on July 10 Inner City Press was ordered by UN Security to leave the UN Security Council stakeout while other favored correspondents could stay. This is censorship. Below is UN's internal communication, signed off on by the head of the UN Department of Safety and Security Peter Drennan. (UNMISS' Ellen Loj said on Jly 13 to Inner City Press, You get everything as related to DSS, Vine here.)
Now from within UN DSS, leaked exclusively to Inner City Press, comes this: "On 14 July at about 16:00 hours in Malakal a private truck contracted to IOM was stopped by a group of IDPs within the PoC. The driver was harassed over allegations that the truck had been used to carry weapons inside the PoC during the attack of 17 to 19 February 2016. The driver was assisted by UN police."
The UN has filed to release its Malakal report(s), or to address its role in the killing of journalist John Gatluak in the Terrain Apartments, below. Now, Inner City Press and the Free UN Coalition for Access support the call for the release of journalist and editor Alfred Taban. The Editor-in-Chief of the Juba Monitor was arrested by agents of the National Security Services in the afternoon of 16 July." We'll have more on this.
Also this evidence of the UN being "extorted" into turning over humanitarian aid in its control to the government, in Torit:
3. Crime – Extortion/Intimidation: On 15 July at about 16:00 hours in Torit, a Government warehouse was broken into. Bags of sorghum belonging to Government Cooperatives were stolen by a crowd protesting food shortages. The local Governor warned WFP that if foodstuff contained in trucks which were parked in the UNMISS Field Office were not released to the State Authorities, the crowd may cause problems at the UN compound. In addition, it was further intimated that UN vehicles may be stoned if the food was not released. As a result the food was handed over to the State Authorities. "
This follows Ban Ki-moon giving in, and quickly, to extortion by Saudi Arabia and its allies and dropping the Saudi-led Coalition from the Yemen Children and Armed Conflict list. This is Ban's UN.
At the July 11 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokeman Stephane Dujarric about people trapped and attacked in the Terrain Apartments in Juba, video here (with interspersed Juba footage), UN transcript here and below. He said he would "come back" to Inner City Press, but never did. Later Inner City Press reported on some rescues from Terrain, below.
On July 13, Inner City Press asked UN envoy Ellen Loj a series of questions about South Sudan, including the violence at Terrain, in which a journalist was killed. Video here. Loj said she was (made) aware of the situation and had called the government, which was able to get there faster than the UN.
But it seems the government and its allies were involved in the violence and killing, including of John Gatluak of Internews. The Free UN Coalition for Access is looking into this.
Inner City Press asked Loj about UN Security chief Peter Drennan's memo suspending travel to and from Juba. She said Inner City Press sees everything from DSS -- isn't that a journalist's job, at east to try? Or is it why Inner City Press was ousted, evict and now harassed? -- then that the order remains in place and it is in any event difficult to travel.
Salva Kiir, we're told, is up the Juba - Yei road; Loj said she didn't know where he is. She said to ask UN Headquarters about the withheld Malakal reports, and headnly heard of any amnesty offer by Kiir. We'll have more on all this.
From July 11:
Inner City Press: on South Sudan, there is a particular case of a dozen international… of something called of Terrain Apartments in Juba that say they have no protection at all and are surrounded by the SPLA. And I wanted to know, is the UN in a position to provide help?
Spokesman: This is a very, very fluid situation. The UN is doing whatever it can with the means that we have on hand to protect its own staff, to ensure that everybody is safe and sound and there are mechanisms in place, and I'm sure those are being followed but I don't have those exact details. I'll come back to you.
Ban Ki-moon's Dujarric, who has collaborated in trying to fuly oust Inner City Press from the UN, never did "Get back." But after contacts including from the newsiest city in America to Sen McCain and Rep Bass, those trapped were saved. No thanks to the UN, we'll have more on this.
UN leak to Inner City Press:
"Exchange of heavy gunfire outside the UN house, at about 300 meter north of the main gate started in the early hours of 10 July 2016. Few rounds of mortar shells landed close to POC 1 and inside the UN house. IDPs in large numbers subsequently began to seek refuge inside the UN house. Heavy fighting continued throughout the day including movement of towed artillery, tanks and troops. Heavy fire was observed on the hill north-east of the main gate. Fighting intensified in the afternoon near POC-3. Heavy and concentrated mortar rounds in the immediate vicinity of the UN house resulted in the SPLA IO troops concentrating around POC-1 western gate.
The UN Tomping compound area also witnessed build-up of heavily armed SPLA soldiers who took up positions and fired bursts of small arms weapon. Multiple instances of bursts of rapid small arms fire followed by heavy weapons and mortar were heard around the Tomping area all thought the day. A large number IDPs and civilians sought refuge inside UN compound in Tomping. The western gate of Tomping was affected by heavy fire.
Heavy fighting resumed this morning 11 July 2016, at about 08:50 hours in most parts of the city. UN house and Tomping compound witnessed intensified heavy bombardment with the use of mortar, tanks, artillery and fires from helicopter gunships. Other areas that witnessed armed activity where within close proximity of WFP, UNICEF, IOM and UNDP residential compounds.
Please see the attached Communiqué electronically approved by Mr. Peter Drennan, Under-Secretary-General, Department of Safety and Security dated 10 July 2016 for your information.
The text in the document reads as follows:
1. In view of the prevailing security situation in Juba, the Designated Official for South Sudan, in consultation with the Crisis Management Team, has recommended the temporary suspension of all incoming and outgoing official travel of UNSMS personnel to and from Juba until further notice, with exceptions to be decided by the Designated Official.
2. I endorse the above recommendation and request UNSMS organizations to comply. Should any mission be deemed of critical importance, advance coordination with the Designated Official should take place for consideration and approval. The security situation is continuously monitored, and once permissible, the suspension will be reviewed."
Previously leaked to Inner City Press on early on July 10: two fatalities in UN "Protection of Civilians" camp 3, seven Chinese peacekeeper injured, three to four critically. And the role of Paul Malong, see below.
After more than three hours of meeting, on July 10 the UN Security Council members emerged. US Samantha Power spoke briefly, about getting more troops from regional countries.
Inner City Press then asked the Council's president for July, Koro Bessho of Japan, if an arms embargo had been discussed - no - and which countries are being looked to. He said he would not name names.Video here.
Could it be, as the UN's Herve Ladsous seeks to continue using in Central African Republic, from Burundi? We'll have more on this. TheCouncil's Press Statement, InnerCityPro.com has put online here.
Belatedly reaching the US Security Council stakeout on July 10, Inner City Press asked French Ambassador Francois Delattre about the injured peacekeepers - nothing -- then asked US Ambassador Samantha Power about the role of Paul Malong, should he be sanctioned? Again, nothing. After 6 pm, Inner City Press asked Angola's Ambassador about the use of attack helicopters; he said heavy weapons shouldn't be used.
The head of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, who should know or quit, said he couldn't give any casualty figures. Inner City Press asked about the seven Chinese peackeepers seriously injured it reported hours earlier; Ladsous said two more, beyond the Chinese. Inner City Press asked if his DPKO has dealt with Paul Malong. No answer. Video here.
Some say the US has been too quiet, even as aircraft are prepared in Djibouti for an evacuation. From US sources, citing a "hero from Benghazi," comes word of US personnel "trapped" in Juba, amid ambushes and NSA Susan Rice set to meet with South Sudanese diaspora / in exile, including Pagan Amum as well as Bakosoro, see below.
US officials Donald Booth and Susan Page have been informed of SPLA-IO reinforcements on their way and the role of Paul Malong, with Ugandan backing. Meanwhile officials of the UN, which has helped in the cover up, blithely tweet "shame on their leaders" -- are they aware of Malong?
Inner City Press was delayed in getting to the Security Council stakeout by the eviction and accreditation downgrade by Team Ban Ki-moon as retaliation for reporting.
Here is a letter from NGOs to the Security Council, put onling by Inner City Press here.
Now as some of those fleeing are forced to climb over the UN's closed gates, with helicopters with links to Uganda's UPDF over Juba, here was the initial memo Inner City Press exclusively published:
“JUBA Nearly 150 soldiers are reported dead from Friday's clash between South Sudan's rival forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to the First Vice President Riek Machar.
The heavy fighting occurred on Friday near J1, the Presidential Palace, between troops of the South Sudanese army (SPLA) and protection unit of the First Vice President, Machar, of the SPLA in Opposition.
35 of the SPLA-IO soldiers lying dead and over 80 died from the SPLA’s side.
All the bodyguards of the First Vice President who were deployed on the street outside J1 were killed, said a senior SPLA officer.
A huge force came from nowhere and joined up with President Kiir’s tiger force and opened fire on Machar’s bodyguards deployed outside the Palace for protection."
On July 8 amid the surge in violence in South Sudan, the UN Ambassador of Lithuania, until recently on the UN Security Council, tweeted on Friday that the Council would meet that afternoon about the crisis.
But when ICP asked the month's President of the Council, Koro Bessho of Japan, he said there would be no Security Council meeting that afternoon. The Lithuania ambassador deleted the tweet; the UNTV crew took down their camera. This as, for example, World Vision went on lock-down in Juba. Ban Ki-moon, in China, issued a canned statement - this as his spokesman refuses Press questions about South Sudan, calling them "too granular."
On July 7, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it, video here, UN Transcript here. Dujarric refused an answer, calling it "too granular."
The UN Department of Safety and Security situation report covers up what other sources say was the targeted assassination of an SPLA-IO soldier:
3. Crime – Shooting: On 05 July at about 10:30 hours in Juba, UN military personnel on patrol reported a shooting incident near the NISS HQ on Jebel Road. The report indicated that an SPLA soldier who appeared to have been shot was taken away from the scene by other Host Government security personnel. The body of a deceased SPLA –IO was reportedly later discovered in the same general area. It could however not be ascertained if this was the same person earlier taken away by HG security personnel neither could it be confirmed if the cause of death was as a result of gunshots.
On June 21, UN DSS issued and Inner City Press has obtained and exclusively publishes the below advisory about South Sudan - well, Juba - which contrasts to DSS officials' behavior, for example in New York where on February 19 they pushed Inner City Press into the street(apparently ordered to do so by DPI's Cristina Gallach), on March 10ordered it out of the UN contrary to published rules, and since then have harassed the Press even when it has a minder.