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Cablegate: Humanitarian Response to Renewed Clashes in North Kivu

VZCZCXRO0538
OO RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1201/01 2891115
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 161115Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7013
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5101
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2116
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0552
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 001201

SIPDIS

AIDAC
SIPDIS

STATE PASS TO USAID/W
USAID/DCHA FOR MHESS, GGOTTLIEB
DCHA/OFDA FOR KLUU, ACONVERY, KCHANNELL, MSHIRLEY
DCHA/FFP FOR TANDERSON, NCOX, TMCRAE
DCHA/OTI FOR RJENKINS, KHUBER
AFR FOR BDUNFORD, CTHOMPSON
NAIROBI FOR USAID/OFDA/ECARO JMYER, ADWYER
NAIROBI FOR USAID/FFP DSUTHER
GENEVA FOR NYKYLOH
NSC FOR PMARCHAM
BRUSSELS FOR USAID PLERNER
NEW YORK FOR TMALY
USMISSION UN ROME FOR RNEWBERG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID MOPS PHUM PREL CG

SUBJECT: HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE TO RENEWED CLASHES IN NORTH KIVU


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. Fighting has escalated in areas of North Kivu since dissident
General Nkunda announced a renewed military offensive against
Congolese armed forces on October 8. As of October 10, clashes are
ongoing in three locations in Masisi and Rutshuru territories.
Relief agencies report some new population displacements in southern
Rutshuru , although residents had previously fled affected towns in
southern Masisi, minimizing additional movements to date. The
current insecurity is hampering some humanitarian response efforts
for conflict-affected populations beyond the Goma area. In light of
the evolving situation, UN and relief agencies are reviewing
contingency plans. End summary.

--------------------------
RENEWED MILITARY OFFENSIVE
--------------------------

2. On October 8, dissident General Laurent Nkunda announced a
renewed military offensive against government forces in North Kivu.
Fighting has escalated since the announcement, and is ongoing along
three fronts in Masisi and Rutshuru territories as of October 10,
according to the UN Mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(MONUC). Troops loyal to Nkunda reportedly initiated the conflict
in two of the locations, specifically in several towns surrounding
Mushake in southern Masisi and between Kichanga and Kashuga in
northern Masisi. In addition, MONUC reports that government forces
launched an offensive near Bunagana, along the Congo-Uganda border
in Rutshuru.

-------------------
HUMANITARIAN IMPACT
-------------------

3. The fighting has reportedly displaced several thousand people in
Rutshuru, but additional displacement in Masisi is so far limited as
many residents had fled previous clashes in August and September.
Preliminary reports indicate 2,140 families have arrived in Rugari
from the Rumanbago area of southern Rutshuru, and several hundred
families are arriving in Shasha, Kikuku, and Nyanzale towns from the
fighting in Masisi. In addition, an estimated 300 families have
arrived in temporary settlement sites west of Goma in the past
several days. USAID field staff note that timely and accurate
information on population movements and humanitarian conditions is
difficult to obtain owing to insecurity and limited access, as well
as the distribution of displaced persons between spontaneous
settlements and host families.

4. As of October 10, relief operations are ongoing for internally
displaced persons in Goma-area settlement sites. However, MONUC
escorts are currently unavailable for assessments or response
activities, thereby delaying planned interventions throughout Masisi
and Rutshuru by Goma-based relief agencies. A UN World Food Program
(WFP) convoy remains in Masisi town as of October 10, after
delivering 100 metric tons (MT) of emergency food aid, owing to
insecurity along the route back to Goma. The fighting has also led
WFP to postpone the distribution of 313 MT of food aid, planned for
18,800 displaced persons between Kitembo and Minova on October 10.


--------
RESPONSE
--------

5. UN and relief agencies are in the process of reviewing and
updating contingency plans based on the evolving security and
humanitarian situation in North Kivu Province. On October 5, MONUC
advised non-governmental relief organizations to update emergency

KINSHASA 00001201 002 OF 002


contingency plans covering response priorities and evacuation
procedures. On October 10, MONUC presented a draft contingency
strategy to the humanitarian community based in Goma.

6. USAID Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance staff are closely
monitoring the humanitarian situation in North Kivu, and
coordinating with partner relief agencies regarding continued
emergency assistance where security and access allow.

BROCK

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