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UK Security Services Working To Establish Whether Manchester Attacker Had Help

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UK Security Services Working To Establish Whether Manchester Attacker Had Help

For 2 Experts Killed in Congo, UN Provided Little Training and No Protection

Their bodies were discovered weeks later in a shallow grave, laid out carefully, side by side, in opposite directions. Ms. Catal n had been decapitated. Her head had been taken.

Continue reading the main story[1]

Their deaths raise tough questions[2] about the United Nations and its work in the most dangerous places in the world. Almost two months passed before the United Nations even assembled a panel to look into what went wrong. The United Nations Security Council could go further and order a more formal investigation, but more than two months after the murders, it has taken no steps in that direction.

Instead, it has left the investigation to Congo, a nation where violence, corruption and impunity[3] are so widespread that the United Nations has had to spend billions[4] of dollars over the years in a failed effort to bring peace and stability. Indeed, a big focus of Ms. Catal n and her colleagues was whether the Congolese government played a role in the massacre and broader chaos she was investigating.

The U.N. needs to take ownership, said Akshaya Kumar, a deputy director at Human Rights Watch. She added that the Congolese authorities, who are implicated in the region s conflict, were in no position to carry out a credible investigation.

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The killings have also stirred a sharp debate over the United Nations responsibility to prepare and protect the people it hires to investigate wrongdoing around the world. Ms. Catal n and Mr. Sharp belonged to a panel of six experts authorized by the Security Council to investigate rapes, massacres and the exploitation of Congo s vast natural resources.

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They traveled without United Nations escorts, often going into areas that are no-go zones for United Nations employees. In this case, the two hired three motorcycle taxis and a Congolese interpreter to ferry them into the countryside. Their Congolese companions are still missing. There is no evidence that they have been killed.

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As independent contractors, the investigators had no health insurance and received little training on how to operate in hostile environments. They were bound by the United Nations security rules; don t travel on motorcycle taxis was one.

But former investigators say United Nations officials know full well the risks that experts routinely take to do their jobs. At least two said they had asked for electronic devices to track their locations and send distress signals, in case of emergencies exactly like this. The United Nations, through a spokesman, said it was not a feasible requirement to provide them.

They were more looking at protecting themselves than protecting us, said Daniel Fahey, who served on the Congo panel in 2013 and 2014. Everyone loved our analyses. But no one really asked us: How do you guys do this? What do you need?

Continue reading the main story[8]

Frans Barnard, a former British Army officer who served on the Congo panel in 2014, said he had been concerned enough to buy his own location tracker.

Photo For 2 Experts Killed In Congo, UN Provided Little Training And No Protection Zaida Catalan Credit Bertil Ericson/Agence France-Presse Getty Images

In my world, duty of care means if we ask you to do something, we give you the training and the equipment to do that, Mr. Barnard said.

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Asked whether the United Nations had done enough to prepare and protect the experts, Jos Luis D az, a spokesman, said the organization was asking itself the same question.

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This is why the U.N. is looking at the whole sequence of events in the disappearance and murder of our colleagues, he said in an email. We want to assess whether things worked as they should, and if what we have in place is adequate or robust enough.

Congo has a long history of conflict and suffering. Foreign powers, successive leaders and an alphabet soup of rebel groups have all pillaged its rich natural resources. The country is the focus of the most expensive peacekeeping operation in the world. But the mission, called Monusco, has often been criticized for turning a blind eye to human rights abuses committed by government forces and rebels alike.

Continue reading the main story[11]

Ms. Catal n, a former Green Party activist in Sweden who had been working as a United Nations expert for less than a year, quickly got sucked into an extraordinarily dangerous world that she was woefully unprepared for, where the line between murderous rebels and corrupt politicians often blurs.

She worked assiduously to untangle a murky web of local politicians, rebel leaders and government ministers, trying to pin down perpetrators so that the Security Council could impose sanctions on them. Her tools often boiled down to a pen that doubled as a recorder, and a determined line of inquiry that ended up putting her life in danger.

Continue reading the main story[12]

It is still unclear who ordered the murders of the experts. The Congolese government said it had released the cellphone video to show that militia fighters, not its soldiers, were responsible. In April, the government announced the arrests of two men. One escaped. Then, on Saturday, the Congolese said they knew who had ordered the killings and where Ms. Catal n s head was, but gave no further details.

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But according to documents kept on Ms. Catal n s computer and to others familiar with the case, she had been scrutinizing a government minister, Cl ment Kanku, for his possible role in inciting violence in the Congolese region of Kasai last year.

Mr. Kanku, the minister of development until he was fired this month, had close links to the militia fighters in the area; he had been brought into President Joseph Kabila s coalition government last year to bring the rebels to heel.

Ms. Catal n kept 130 files in a folder on her computer under Mr. Kanku s name. Among them was a recorded phone conversation in which he seems to discuss setting fire to a town in the region, Tshimbulu, with a subordinate. They talk about a successful jailbreak, targeted assassinations of a colonel and other officials, and general mayhem.

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We burnt Tshimbulu, the subordinate is heard saying.

It s good that we burn everything; that is good news, Mr. Kanku replies.

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The colonel is in his house, and we re burning down the house so he burns to death, the subordinate says.

Mr. Kanku asks: Did you kill the colonel s bodyguards?

Yes, we beat his bodyguards on the head with our batons, the subordinate responds.

Continue reading the main story[16]

Though it was unclear how she had obtained it, Ms. Catal n had the recording in her possession in January, according to people familiar with her work, the same month she wrote in her diary about the big breakthrough. She had also texted Mr. Sharp, her colleague in Congo: I have big stuff going on.

Photo For 2 Experts Killed In Congo, UN Provided Little Training And No Protection Michael Sharp Credit John E. Sharp, via Reuters

People familiar with the case said Mr. Kanku had known she had the audio file. In fact, she had told Mr. Kanku that she had it, they said, and was scheduled to discuss the matter with him after her trip into the bush.

When contacted by The New York Times, Mr. Kanku initially denied, then confirmed, that he had been in contact with the experts.

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I talked with the man; the woman, I didn t talk to her. When pressed, he replied: I think I also spoke with the woman, but I m not sure because many people call me.

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Listen, where are you? Can I see you? he continued, sounding nervous. I can t talk right now. I ll call you after. Mr. Kanku abruptly hung up without addressing the contents of the tape. He did not call back or respond to multiple calls after that.

It was Ms. Catal n s sister, Elizabeth, who first raised the alarm that the United Nations investigators were in trouble.

Continue reading the main story[19]

Late in the afternoon on March 12, she received an unnerving call from Ms. Catal n s cellphone.

I couldn t hear her voice, she said in their family s home in Sweden. I just heard lots of men talking in the background, not just a few but many, a group of men talking.

Sensing something wrong, the family frantically reached out to Ms. Catal n s colleagues in the United Nations.

Continue reading the main story[20]

The United Nations said peacekeepers sprang into action from the very start, with troops and helicopters deployed the next morning, according to Mr. D az, the spokesman.

The few peacekeepers stationed nearby began searching by road and air. But it took four days to deploy more United Nations forces from other parts of the country and begin a robust search, according to the commander of Monusco s Uruguayan forces, Col. Luis Mangini.

It took a full two weeks to find the bodies.

The autopsy concluded little. Death by multiple injuries, it said. Ms. Catal n s second autopsy report, conducted by a private Ugandan pathology service, said the body, initially examined by the Congolese authorities, had neither blood staining, mud nor soiling of any sort, suggesting that the body had been washed clean.

Continue reading the main story[21]

Families and friends of Ms. Catal n said they were unaware of just how dangerous her job was, even compared with her earlier assignments. Ms. Catal n previously worked for the European Union, educating local police officers in Afghanistan, Congo and the Palestinian[22] territories on gender-based violence. She once confided to a friend about the ad hoc nature of her United Nations assignment. It was, she said, like living on the edge.

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In December, during a visit home for Christmas, Ms. Catal n recounted a frightening episode in which she had interviewed a rebel leader accused of committing atrocities. I barely made it out of that room alive, Elizabeth, her sister, recalled her saying.

The risks began to take a toll on her.

A week before her death, she had a disturbing premonition: My body will be carried out of the jungle, she confided to a friend.

Now, relatives, colleagues and friends are frustrated at the handling of the killings. The Swedish authorities say they are looking into the deaths, but family members are calling on the United Nations to conduct a credible, independent investigation as well.

Continue reading the main story[24]

What we hope for now is an independent international criminal investigation, said Mr. Sharp s father, John. We can t depend on the Congolese government to do it.

Continue reading the main story[25]

References

  1. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ tough questions (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ corruption and impunity (www.nytimes.com)
  4. ^ spend billions (www.nytimes.com)
  5. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  6. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  7. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  8. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  9. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  10. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  11. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  12. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  13. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  14. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  15. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  16. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  17. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  18. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  19. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  20. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  21. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  22. ^ More articles about Palestinians. (topics.nytimes.com)
  23. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  24. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  25. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)

High-Tech Security Robot Patrolling Prudential Center

BOSTON (CBS) A unique looking addition to the Prudential Center had shoppers taking a second look on Thursday.

Nobody knew exactly what it was, said recent Northeastern University graduate and Prudential Center mall shopper Ana Hurtado.

It s got cameras, it s always flashing, described Mouhamad Alnajjar who works inside the Pru. A new high-tech security guard named K-5 is now patrolling the mall halls.

A lot of people were taking pictures with it, putting their arms around it, said Alnajjar. I think it s awesome. It reminds me a lot of Star Wars, laughed Hurtado. I actually tried to talk to it.

High-Tech Security Robot Patrolling Prudential Center

Prudential shoppers pose for a photo with a high-tech security robot. (WBZ-TV)

I ve never seen anything like that and we need it in this day and age, something monitoring what s going on out here, said Boston native and shopper Rachel Silva. Monitoring is exactly what the robot does. K-5 is short for Knightscope-5, named after the developer.

K-5 rolled out this week through a pilot program partnership between Allied Universal Security and the Pru. It sends 24-hour information to a security command center like high definition images and video. K-5 also uses sensors and lasers.. to detect heat.. and even carbon monoxide levels.

I thought it was amazing, said Silva.

High-Tech Security Robot Patrolling Prudential Center

A security robot at the Prudential Center. (WBZ-TV)

There was this kid who just kept playing with it and the robot come to like hug them and I thought that was cute, added Hurtado. However, not everyone shared the same sentiment.

I m not sure what it was. I stood far away from it. It looks pretty intense, Alnajjar said with a laugh.

Alnajjar is one of many employees working inside the Pru who received an email about the security robots.

I thought it was going to be a small little creature but yeah it s pretty big. It s up to me so it s probably up to here. Several K-5s launched in California a year ago. Massachusetts is the second state to test run the robot. With a monthly leasing cost of about $8,000, Allied Universal Security says it s designed to help out human security guards and not replace them.

Oh never, never, we ll never be replaced. God no, laughed Silva.

The pilot program is expected to run until August 2017.

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