A fresh BBC report says there is evidence that investigations into allegations of exchanges of weapons, ammunition, drugs and food for gold and ivory between UN troops and rebels operating in eastern DR Congo were blocked for political reasons.
Relying mainly on UN insider sources, the BBC has established that the high value of Pakistan and India, countries whose troops are at the centre of the illegal deals, explains the blockage. The two are the largest contributors of peace keepers.
UN’s own watchdog organ, the Office of Internal Oversight Service, had confirmed in its March 2008 report allegations of food supply to FDLR and FNI rebels. Transport and security were also found to have been provided for illegal trade in unwrought gold by dealers.
The UN Secretary General’s representative in DRC Alan Doss denied having been pressured to suppress any evidence. He admitted though, that there were individual troops who misbehaved, but argues they should not be reason for holding their countries of origin or the UN culpable.
The difference between the BBC findings and what the UN agrees to be true is insignificant. After all in its unpublished report dated July 2, 2007, the United Nations concludes that indeed a Pakistani contingent in Mongbwalu traded in gold not with rebels but with Indians based in East Africa.
If UN peace keeping soldiers could trade with the Indians, they sure could as well have dealt with FDLR, and for anything including arms for gold. It is simply a question of willingness to engage in immoral and illegal activities. The rest of the details about the extent of involvement just depend on how much implicating evidence is gathered.
Whereas pleas of insufficient evidence may be made and legal action not taken on that basis, the UN’s reputation continues to get battered. Meanwhile, Rwanda agonises for the second time, and still the irresponsibility on the part of UN is to blame.
Failure (or deliberate refusal) to prevent or stop the Genocide in 1994 is being followed not only by failure, or neglecting to disarm FDLR, but watching ‘helplessly’ as its troops fan the conflicts they are deployed to quell. It is a shameful irony.