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Human-rights activists accuse UN of coverup

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UNITED NATIONS -- Human-rights activists accused the United Nations yesterday of effectively whitewashing a guns-for-gold scandal that allegedly saw its peacekeepers arm rebels they were supposed to be disarming in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In a letter to UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guehenno, New York-based Human Rights Watch takes issue with the world body's findings that only one Pakistani soldier had helped smuggle gold from the resource-rich country and that no UN peacekeeper had been involved in gun-running.

The findings run counter to evidence collected by numerous non-UN observers inside Congo, which suggests the illegal trade was widespread.

"The Pakistanis were involved in a Mafia ring that included the Congolese army and Kenyan traders all smuggling millions of dollars in gold from eastern Congo into East Africa," New Brunswick-raised Anneke Van Woudenberg, who runs a team of Human Rights Watch investigators in DRC, said from Kigali, ...

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