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Cablegate: Deadline to Replace Bemba and Ruberwa Guards

VZCZCXRO7569
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0322 0751218
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161218Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5802
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 000322

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM ASEC KPKO MOPS CASC CG
SUBJECT: DEADLINE TO REPLACE BEMBA AND RUBERWA GUARDS
PASSES WITHOUT INCIDENT

REF: KINSHASA 306

1. (U) A March 15 deadline to replace with police officers
the personal guard forces of former vice presidents
Jean-Pierre Bemba and Azarias Ruberwa passed without incident
(reftel). Traffic was lighter than usual in the Gombe
district of central Kinshasa on March 15, but businesses
remained open throughout the day. MONUC placed additional
armored vehicles and peacekeepers near Bemba's and Ruberwa's
residences, and there were no reports of violence or
confrontations.

2. (U) None of Bemba's or Ruberwa's guards appear to have
departed their respective compounds March 15. Congolese armed
forces chief of staff Lt. Gen. Kisempia Sungilanga had
ordered the former vice presidents' guard forces to report
for military integration, citing a November 15, 2006,
presidential decree according protection to the four
transitional vice presidents. Their guard forces are to be
eventually replaced by 12-member contingents of police
bodyguards.

3. (U) MONUC and Minister of Defense Chikez Diemu have been
negotiating with the Bemba and Ruberwa camps regarding
replacement of their guards. The Minister told MONUC's Radio
Okapi in a widely broadcast interview that the government did
not intend to force the issue. MONUC military spokesman Lt.
Col. Didier Rancher was quoted in press reports that
discussions are underway. Bemba adviser Thomas Luhaka said
the MLC is "ready for a compromise" but seeks assurances from
President Kabila.

4. (SBU) Comment: The situation in Kinshasa is calm, aQ
discussions are underway to resolve the matter peacefully.
The replacement of Bemba's and Ruberwa's guards remains a
serious concern, but thus far all the principals involved are
taking measures to avoid a confrontation. End comment.
MEECE

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