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Cablegate: North Kivu Update (9/10/07 17:00 Gmt): Fighting

VZCZCXRO3082
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1082/01 2531739
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 101739Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6849
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 001082

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ASEC KPKO MOPS CG
SUBJECT: NORTH KIVU UPDATE (9/10/07 17:00 GMT): FIGHTING
DIMINISHING, BUT TENSIONS REMAIN

REF: KINSHASA 1072

1. (SBU) Fighting has diminished in North Kivu since
pro-government forces and troops loyal to dissident General
Laurent Nkunda stopped shooting in and around Sake, 20 miles
west of the provincial capital Goma, on September 6. There
have been isolated incidents in Rutshuru territory and in
northern parts of Masisi territory over the past few days,
but the apparent pause in fighting around Sake appears to be
holding. MONUC and Congolese military (FARDC) sources told us
elements of the mixed Bravo Brigade fired on one another
September 7 outside the village of Nkokwe about 30 miles
northeast of Goma. MONUC military officials said skirmishes
took place west of Kitchanga, about 30 miles north of Goma,
September 7 between Nkunda loyalists of Delta Brigade and
suspected Mayi-Mayi and FDLR fighters. The incidents have not
sparked any wider conflict.

2. (SBU) MONUC authorities had earlier claimed its
peacekeepers had brokered a "ceasefire" in Sake between the
two sides. MONUC military spokesman Major Gabriel deBrosses
later backed away from such language, saying in press reports
that there is no official, written ceasefire in place. Other
MONUC officials said the firing stopped only after
peacekeepers arrived and secured positions in Sake,
separating the two sides. DeBrosses and other MONUC personnel
told us they believe the current lull is allowing the FARDC
and Nkunda's forces to regroup and solidify their positions
in Sake and elsewhere. MONUC peacekeepers remain deployed in
Sake and are continuing their patrols to defend Goma and
other populated areas.

3. (U) With the lull in fighting, two top FARDC commanders
spent September 8 in North Kivu to evaluate the situation.
FARDC Chief of Defense Forces General Dieudonne Kayembe and
Land Forces Commander General Gabriel Amisi, along with MONUC
North Kivu Brigade Commander General Bikram Singh, toured
Sake and other recent battlefield locations by air. Kaymebe
said he would make a full report to President Kabila upon his
return to Kinshasa. Singh and other MONUC officials
reiterated previous calls for dissidents to leave positions
that threatened urban areas and report for integration.

4. (SBU) The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) chief John Holmes, finishing a five-day visit
to the DRC, said in Goma September 7 he found the internally
displaced persons (IDP) situation in the province
"intolerable." Holmes said the UN would work closely with the
GDRC and neighboring governments to find a peaceful solution
to the current violence. He allowed that security was such
that it impeded immediate access for humanitarians agency to
IDP populations. New figures from OCHA and UNHCR estimate
there are nearly 300,000 IDPs in the southern part of North
Kivu, although officials admit these numbers are only
estimates.

5. (U) In a September 4 communique, Nkunda attacked Kabila as
the chief instigator of the recent violence in North Kivu,
claiming the president has failed to live up to the December
2006 Kigali agreements that led to the "mixage" process. He
criticized Kabila for the FARDC's failure to provide
sufficient troops for a sixth mixed brigade or to allow those
units to begin operations against the FDLR. He further argued
that Kabila has failed to address claims in Nkunda's "cahier
des charges," thus embarrassing Kabila himself and Rwanda,
which helped broker the original "mixage" deal. Nkunda
alleged his political wing, the National Congress for the
Defense of the People (CNDP), does not wish to overthrow the
government or seize power by force. He said the CNDP and its
members are convinced the current crisis can only be resolved
through negotiation.

6. (U) The staunchly pro-Kabila daily "L'Avenir" criticized
MONUC in its September 8 and 10 editions for "saving" Nkunda
by its intervention in Sake, adding that the Department's
call for negotiations appears to put Nkunda and his troops on
an equal footing with the FARDC. The September 10 edition
asserted that the international community tends to take
MONUC's position and denounced the Department's press release
for appearing to indiscriminately blame violence on both the
government and insurgents. The article noted that while the
Department lauded the recent meetings between the GDRC and
Rwandan officials, it failed to acknowledge links between
Rwandan authorities and the conflict in North Kivu. The paper
concluded that helping the DRC and Rwanda live in peace

KINSHASA 00001082 002 OF 002


depends on finding a definitive solution to the "Nkunda
problem."
BROCK

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