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Cablegate: Fire Destroys Part of Drc National Disarmament

VZCZCXRO6549
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0311 0741504
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 151504Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5779
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000311

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KPKO CG
SUBJECT: FIRE DESTROYS PART OF DRC NATIONAL DISARMAMENT
AGENCY'S HEADQUARTERS


1. (U) A March 9 fire destroyed several offices located at
the DRC's national disarmament agency CONADER in downtown
Kinshasa. Firemen from the nearby oil company SEP-Congo and
the city quickly responded to the blaze which did not spread
to adjoining buildings. A visual inspection revealed
extensive smoke damage and broken windows on the top three
floors of the six-story building, which is shared with
several other tenants.

2. (U) CONADER coordinator Daniel Kawata, who was in
Kisangani the day of the fire with visiting World Bank
President Paul Wolfowitz, told us March 13 no important
material was destroyed in the fire. He said all billing
paperwork, contracts and payment records had been stored in
his office and subsequently moved to a safe location. Kawata
said most of the material destroyed was correspondence,
desks, computers and other office equipment. CONADER deputy
coordinator Innocente Bakanseka, who was in the building at
the time of the incident, was quoted in press reports as
saying copies existed of all the lost documents.

3. (SBU) Kawata said an official inquiry is underway to
determine the cause of the fire, but he suspected the blaze
was deliberately set. Press reports indicated an electrical
short may have caused the incident. Kawata said the fire
started in Bakanseka's office and quickly spread to two
adjoining offices. His own office suffered smoke and water
damage, requiring him to temporarily relocate to another part
of the building. Kawata would not speculate as to who might
be responsible.

4. (SBU) Comment: Though the always hyperactive Kinshasa
rumor mill is churning out predictably sensationalistic
versions how the fire started, there is no evidence of arson.
Electrical fires are very common in Kinshasa, particularly
during the current rainy seasons with frequent electrical
storms. In any case, the incident will not in any case hamper
the work of CONADER, whose staff has been reduced to less
than 100 and whose activities have been temporarily suspended
since December pending further funding from the World Bank
and other donors. End comment.
MEECE

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