UN denies cover-up in Congo peacekeeper probe

April 29th, 2008 - 7:11 pm ICT by admin  

New York, April 29 (IANS) The United Nations has refuted allegations that there was a cover-up of an internal investigation into alleged misconduct by its peacekeepers, including Indians and Pakistanis, deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). UN officials said Monday that while the world body took the allegations seriously, it believed the reports were misleading and false. Where allegations had been substantiated, action had been taken with the countries concerned, they added.

The reports, initially aired by the BBC, alleged that Pakistani and Indian troops assigned to the mission in DRC had engaged in illegal gold trafficking and supply of ammunition to a militia group.

The Indian Army has ordered a probe into charges of gold trafficking by three Indian peacekeepers, but denied charges of gunrunning in the restive nation.

The reports also alleged that the UN had sought to cover up charges of arms trafficking for fear of alienating India and Pakistan.

Denying the cover-up, Marie Okabe, a spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, told a media briefing that the UN was following up with the member states in question on the disciplinary action they had taken on the basis of the UN’s internal investigation.

Okabe said much of the information in the reports was based on hearsay or came from sources such as militia leaders, whose integrity and motivations were “highly questionable”, as they themselves had been arrested and imprisoned by UN peacekeepers.

The head of the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Gu

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