U.N. to investigate accusations of withdrawing Clooney’s security escort

George ClooneyLondon, February 21 : The United Nations is launching a probe into accusations that the organisation had decided to withdraw Hollywood star George Clooney''s security escort during his visit to dangerous area of Africa.

Clooney, a U. N. goodwill ambassador, has visited Sudan's war-torn Darfur region many times to highlight the plight of refugees there.

He is presently travelling the African state of Chad with two journalists in an unofficial capacity, as part of his pledge to help publicise troubles in the area.

A New York Times journalist recently suggested in a column that the U. N. had decided to "pull" Clooney''s "security escort" as they traversed the eastern Chad border, leaving the group open to kidnap or attack.

The journalist even termed the move "petty and mean-spirited".

Responding to the accusations, U. N. officials have said that since Clooney is not travelling as part of his role as a goodwill ambassador, he does not qualify for official protection.

Michele Montas, a spokeswoman for the organisation, cast further doubts on the newspaper report by saying that the U. N. mission in the West African country does not have any armed military police, and that it relies on local police and a European Union peacekeeping force, EUFOR, for escorts.

"We are still trying to ascertain the facts. The U. N. could not provide the sort of security details you are talking about," the Daily Star quoted her as telling a news conference.

"So it could be EUFOR. EUFOR has been advised of the presence of Mr. Clooney and they indicated that they would be prepared to provide Mr. Clooney with support if required within the area of its operations," she added. (ANI)