Cablegate: Goma Report January 8, 2008 - Third Day of Kivus Conference

DE RUEHKI #0016/01 0091536
R 091536Z JAN 08 ZDK




E.O. 12958: N/A

SUBJECT: Goma Report January 8, 2008 - third day of Kivus Conference
and military situation update

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1. (SBU) Summary: A prominent Protestant clergyman who is in
contact with Nkunda told poloff Nkunda holds to the commitments he
made with Special Envoy Tim Shortley but is worried about potential
negative effects of the Kivus Conference. The clergyman confirms
that Nkunda is willing to send his forces to brassage without
requiring they stay in North Kivu, assuming three requirements are
met: FDLR is disarmed, CNDP personnel (evidently to include
himself) are amnestied and assured of adequate military or political
positions, and return of refugees is ensured. Meanwhile, Kivus
Conference president Malu Malu says that the first plenary will take
place January 9, despite huge obstacles. International community
representatives met fifty Mai Mai, who were highly dissatisfied with
conference arrangements. End summary.

Runiga's Meeting with Nkunda

2. (SBU) On his return January 8 from meeting Nkunda at Kirolirwe
(via MONUC transport), Bishop Jean-Marie Runiga Lugerno gave an
account to MONUC (Political Director Christian Manahl and Political
Officer Hannah Taylor) and to poloff. President Kabila, acting
through his Foreign Affairs Advisor Marcellin Chissambo, had
dispatched Runiga to Nkunda, and Kabila had previously sent Runiga
to meet Nkunda in September. Runiga said that he had continued to
be in telephonic contact with Nkunda "every few days." Runiga is
pastor of the Eglise Jesus-Christ le Seul Sauveur (Church of Jesus
Christ the only Savior), with churches in several parts of DRC, and
national president of the "Association des Eglises de Reveil"
(Association of Churches of the Awakening). Nkunda attended his
church in Kisangani in past years.

3. (SBU) Runiga said that Nkunda was worried about the Kivus
Conference. The CNDP had not been involved in the preparatory
meetings for the Conference, nor was it represented in its
leadership positions. Runiga said that he pointed out to Nkunda
that the presence of Emmanuel Kamanzi and Azil Tanzi, widely
considered to be CNDP, in the "Bureau" of the conference certainly
gave the conference an appearance of CNDP involvement. Nkunda
responded that those two were "representatives of the Tutsi
community" only, not CNDP. Nkunda told Runiga that he was satisfied
with his delegation of 12 (10 as conference members, one admin, one
media handler), whom he had personally designated. The government
had sent an invitation to the CNDP, thereby giving the CNDP
recognition as a party. (The delegation of 12 is now being
transported daily under MONUC escort from Kimoka, north of Sake, to
the conference site.) Despite the "complete incoherence of the
conference," Nkunda said he would not withdraw this delegation nor
cease to abide by the ceasefire which he had called.

4. (SBU) Nkunda's deeper worry, according to Runiga, was that the
conference could veer off in a negative direction, undermining the
work that Special Envoy Tim Shortley had accomplished in
mid-December. At that time, Shortley and he had come to agreement
on "70 percent of the issues." He had hoped that the conference
would be a vehicle to consecrate that 70 percent, but now there was
a risk of having to start over. In any case, as the opening session
of the conference had now taken place and speeches had been made
there that circumscribed the scope of the conference, it was more
difficult to see the conference as a vehicle for consecrating the
agreement. Nkunda was also concerned that the government had not
reciprocated his announcement of a ceasefire. Runiga said that
Nkunda did not appear to be aware that the Minister of Defense had
announced a ceasefire for the duration of the conference.

5. (SBU) Runiga asked Nkunda what his "real claims" were, to which
Nkunda cited three. First, the FDLR had to be dealt with.
Preferably, its partisans would return to Rwanda. Alternatively,
the FDLR would voluntarily disarm and become refugees, to be placed
at least 150 kilometers from the border within DRC or in third
countries. Alternatively, the FDLR would have to be forcibly
disarmed. Nkunda was even amenable to the idea of integrating FDLR
into the Congolese army, although he said the government would have
to be the one to convince Rwanda and the international community to
accept the idea.

6. (SBU) Second, CNDP personnel, both military and political, would
have to be fully amnestied. Military personnel would have to be
given a concomitant military grade and position of responsibility
within the Congolese army, and political personnel would have to be
given a position of equivalent responsibility in the civilian
hierarchy. Nkunda did not mention his own personal status, but
Runiga assessed that Nkunda included himself in this requirement.
Nkunda himself called for "brassage" of his military forces, saying
that he would interpose no conditions (e.g., keeping them in North

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Kivu) on this integration of his forces if his other basic claims
were fulfilled. (Runiga noted that, in the meeting he had had a few
days previously with Chissambo, the latter had suggested that CNDP
political personnel might appropriately be named as directors of
public enterprises.)

7. (SBU) Nkunda's third requirement was that refugees and displaced
persons return to their places of origin. He did not restrict the
requirement to Rwandophones. He recognized that if the FDLR and
CNDP-status issues were adequately addressed, this issue would,
effectively, be resolved. Runiga said that he urged Nkunda not to
stress this issue, as it was the province of the government and
international community. He urged Nkunda to focus on status of CNDP

8. (SBU) Christian Manahl commented that, while MONUC was itself
prohibited at present from direct contact with Nkunda, it firmly
supported Shortley's intermediation and also believed Runiga was
doing good work. Runiga said that he fully understood the primacy
of Shortley's role but stood ready to continue to communicate with
Nkunda if such contact were deemed useful.

Quiet on the Military Front

9. (SBU) MONUC's acting Head of Office Gernot Sauer told poloff
January 8 that he was not aware of any confrontations having taken
place between FARDC and Nkunda's forces since the beginning of the
year. On the other hand, there had been clashes between Pareco and
Nkunda January 3 and 4 at Kashuga, northwest of Mweso and Kitchanga,
and the MONUC human-rights team was investigating allegations that
FARDC (elements of the 2d integrated brigade) had shot into a group
of people January 2 at Nkokwe (east of Rumangabo, midway between
Goma and Rutshuru), killing ten, apparently on the ground that the
group was thought to be giving information to Nkunda's local
commander Makenga. Poloff noted that in an earlier conversation,
Mai Mai had claimed that Nkunda's forces in recent days had occupied
several areas on the periphery of his control, to include Kashuga
and Ngungu (near the South Kivu border). Sauer said that, indeed,
it appeared that Nkunda had recently reoccupied Ngungu, which for
some time been a "free zone" surrounded by a Mai Mai, FDLR, and
Nkunda on various sides. Poloff also called on MONUC North Kivu
commander General Narayan, who confirmed that all was quiet between
FARDC and Nkunda. He said that there was always "background noise"
between Mai Mai groups and Nkunda, and he gave those exchanges
little importance.

Kivus Conference Limping Along

10. (SBU) There was no plenary meeting of the Kivus conference
January 8, even to address rules of procedure. The issuance of
badges proceeded slowly, with the issuing office (the Electoral
Commission) inundated with applicants and conflicting lists of
members. Self-important personages were constantly bullying their
way into getting more of their allies accredited. Badges were being
sold, according to eye-witness accounts.

11. (SBU) In an evening meeting, conference president Malu Malu
assured international observers that the plenary would commence on
January 9 even if all members of the conference were not yet
accredited. (He claimed there were now over 600 accredited, though
other reports suggest far fewer; he said that he had ordered
simplifications in the accrediting process.) Malu Malu said he had
received the CNDP delegation in the course of January 8, assuring
them that they would have a serious involvement in the conference,
which would however not be a negotiating forum.

12. (SBU) EU Special Envoy Roeland van de Geer emphasized to Malu
Malu the importance of meeting Mai Mai complaints about poor
treatment, to which Malu Malu said that his efforts to placate the
Mai Mai had been complicated by their numerous conflicting claims.
Manahl raised the issue of public display of weapons in Goma,
including by FARDC, as a potential accidental flashpoint, to which
Malu Malu -- evidently overcome by a virus and by fatigue -- said
that there was not likely much way to handle the issue, though he
would raise it with the Minister of Interior. Van de Geer noted the
disgruntlement that would mount in the conference because only half
the 800 conference members would have the privilege of being allowed
in the main hall. Malu Malu said limply said that everyone would
somehow have access to discussion via television screen.

Mai Mai

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14. (SBU) At opening of day January 8, international observers led
by van de Geer, Manahl, and Belgian Special Envoy Jozef Smets met
for three hours with fifty representatives of Mai Mai groups present
in Goma for the conference. Didier Bitake, spokesman for what was
described as the "Groupes Armees Authochtones du Nord Kivu" (Armed
Indigenous Groups of North Kivu), gave the principal presentation,
while many representatives of the four Mai Mai groups also spoke,
some at great length and with great passion. Included were the Mai
Mai Kifuafua, the largest group, active in Walikale, northern
Masisi, and northernmost South Kivu; Mai Mai Kassindiens, active in
the Grand Nord; Pareco, recently formed and active in central
Masisi; and "Mongol," a small group only recently resuscitated.

15. (SBU) Speakers were incensed at what they considered to be the
special treatment afforded Nkunda's forces and their own poor
treatment -- no security, no transport, no lodging or food, no
payment of the promised per diem. On wider issues, speakers tracked
the themes which Hunde and Nianga deputies had sounded with poloff
on Janaury 7: Rwanda was the root of conflict in North Kivu, with
its support of Nkunda and poor treatment of FDLR returnees. The Mai
Mai had arisen as the only true support of the indigenous
population, as the army and state apparatus were feckless. They
rejected the return of Congolese Tutsi refugees to North Kivu. They
opposed any military action against FDLR as past practice showed
that the FDLR would wreak vengeance on the local population, but
they insisted that the international community ensure FDLR's return
to Rwanda. Bitake singled out the United States for special
criticism as Rwanda's and Nkunda's backer, claiming first-hand
information on American military supply of Nkunda. Manahl requested
that the Mai Mai follow Nkunda's and the Minister of Defense's suit
in calling for a ceasefire, to which Bitake said he would consider
doing so reluctantly, given Nkunda's recent reoccupation of five

16. (SBU) The international observers, with approval of Malu Malu
and Chissambo, plan to see leaders of several other dissident and
ethnic groups, to include CNDP, in the coming days, on the margins
of the conference, depending on its pace.


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