By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, October 31 — As in Guinea the Peul people are targeted and fleeing, the UN’s Dakar-based envoy to Guinea Said Djinnit told Inner City Press he would “prefer not to comment at this time.” To some, it was a small echo of Rwanda, the UN waiting for the right time, invariably too late.
At the UN’s October 29 noon briefing in New York, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Martin Nesirky about the mounting violence in Guinea:
Inner City Press: Maybe you’ll have a statement on this, on the fleeing of the Peul ethnic group in Guinea in the run-up to the elections. Have you seen… I know that Mr. [Said] Djinnit has made statement that he was glad of the rescheduling, but there is now this report of 1,800 of the Peul ethnic group basically forced to flee violence in the run-up to the election. I’m wondering, is that something…? Does Mr. Djinnit or the UN have any comment on this? Does it impact on the elections?
Spokesperson Nesirky: There may be something more specific in a little while. I will ask my colleagues. But you rather selectively quoted from what Mr. Djinnit said. As you know, he also called for there to be the right conditions for elections to take place, and not simply that it was good that they were going to take place.
That was what had earlier been said.
But, amazing to some, later Nesirky’s UN office sent the following to Inner City Press in response:
Subject: Your question on the Peul in Guinea
From: UN Spokesperson – Do Not Reply
To: Matthew.Lee [at] innercitypress.com
We have received the following from UNOWA:
SRSG Djinnit is informed that the UN team will conduct a joint assessment mission next week and does not wish to comment for now. He reiterates his call to the two candidates and other Guinean leaders concerned to do everything to defuse tension and create conditions conducive for peaceful ballot.