This doesn't surprise me at all. What does surprise me is that it got out. Fair do's to the BBC.
Pakistani UN peacekeeping troops have traded in gold and sold weapons to Congolese militia groups they were meant to disarm, the BBC has learnt. These militia groups were guilty of some of the worst human rights abuses during the Democratic Republic of Congo's long civil war. The trading went on in 2005. A UN investigative team sent to gather evidence was obstructed and threatened.
The team's report was buried by the UN itself to "avoid political fallout".
Richard Ndilu, in charge of immigration at Mongbwalu airstrip, became suspicious in late 2005 when an Indian businessman arrived there and went to stay at the camp of the Pakistani peacekeepers. Alerted to this illegal trade by her officials, the District Commissioner of Ituri, Petronille Vaweka, went to Bunia airport to intercept a plane from Mongbwalu. She said her way was blocked by Congolese army officers, who refused to allow her to inspect the cargo.
"I knew they had gold because the price of gold increased when the Indians went to Mongwalu," she said. "When we wanted to verify what was inside the plane the pilot refused to allow us to enter the plane - me who was the chief, he refused! It was a big scandal."
This is from a witness statement given to the UN by a Congolese officer engaged in the disarming of the militia in the nearby town of Nizi:
"The officer expressed his regrets over the malpractices of a Pakistani battalion under the auspices of Major Zanfar. He revealed the arms surrendered by ex-combatants were secretly returned to them by Major Zanfar thereby compromising the work they had collectively done earlier. Repeatedly he saw militia who had been disarmed one day, but the next day would become re-armed again. The information he could obtain was always the same, that it would be the Pakistani battalion giving arms back to the militia."
This evidence was backed up by an interpreter working with the Pakistani battalion at Mongbwalu. On arriving at the Officer's Mess, the interpreter found two militia leaders - known as Kung Fu and Dragon. The interpreter said that the first question from Major Ali was to Kung Fu - asking him: 'What about the weapons I gave you? What about the weapons Monuc gave you?'
A UN investigation team arrived in Mongbwalu in August 2006. At first the Pakistani battalion there cooperated with them. But when they attempted to seize a computer with apparently incriminating documents on it a stand-off ensued. The Pakistanis surrounded the UN police accompanying the investigators with barbed wire and put two armoured personnel carriers outside their living quarters at a nearby Christian mission.
Thoroughly intimidated, the investigators were airlifted out of Mongbwalu.
Noon Image: 25 May 2015
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