Cablegate: Monuc's Kivus Conference Report -

DE RUEHKI #0046/01 0171219
O 171219Z JAN 08





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: MONUC's Kivus Conference Report -
Sitrep #7 (January 12, 2007)

REF: Kinshasa 0040

Note: The following report was prepared by MONUC (pls protect) and
was shared with U.S. team in Goma. Reftel is the previous
installment in this series. End note.


1. (SBU) Summary: The ethnic communities of South Kivu commence
their presentations in the fourth Plenary session. Tension rises
swiftly when the Bembe and the Fulero issue anachronistic anti-Tutsi
declarations, and the Banyamulenge demand the recognition of the
Minembwe Territory. The Conference President proposes the
intervention of the Comit des Sages, and suggests a thorough truth
and reconciliation exercise to heal the unaddressed wounds provoked
by waves of violence during successive wars in South Kivu.

2. (SBU) On 12 January, the speeches issued in the Plenary session
by the ethnic communities of South Kivu set the tone for the
forthcoming political debate on pacification in South Kivu, and
revealed the root (local) causes of the 1996 and 1998 wars in the
Province. From the beginning, the radical anti-Tutsi speech of the
Bembe representative raised issues of indigeneity, citizenship, the
contradiction between civic law and custom, conflict between herders
and cultivators/gatherers, as well as tension between majoritarian
and minoritarian tribes. The interventions were ideologically
articulated in two categories: the majority "indigenous" tribes
inhabiting the "South-South" (the Southern part of the Province),
i.e. the Bembe and the Fulero, who attacked the Banyamulenge and
blamed them for expansionism and subversion of the state, and
demanded that they submit (as subjects) to the authority of their
customary chiefs.

3. (SBU) Neglecting that the 2005 electoral registration and the
post-electoral institutional order already guarantee the
Banyamulenge's citizenship, both the Bembe and the Fulero quoted
colonial historical sources to demonstrate that the Banyamulenge are
lesser citizens than the "indigenous" Congolese. Both expressed
their categorical refusal to the recognition of the Minembwe
Territory that was created by the RCD-G in 1999, demanded punishment
for the massacres committed during the RCD-G era, and requested that
the name "Banyamulenge" be renounced (something they consider a
historical manipulation) and therefore to re-instate the original
terminology "Banyarwanda" (the ones coming form Rwanda), which they
have been using until the 1970s. Neither of the two ever mentioned
the FDLR as a source of insecurity.

4. (SBU) Comments: The tone of the two statements was racist and
disruptive. It is surprising that both tribes demanded the
Banyamulenge to shed an identity constructed intentionally (Mulenge
is indeed a location of the Moyens Plateaux of Uvira originally
inhabited by the Pygmies) to dissociate from the Rwandan Tutsi and
be accepted by the other Congolese. Such strong language could have
been expected from the Bembe (whose anti-Tutsi attitude dates from
the 1960s), but similar sentiments expressed by the Fulero, who live
in symbiosis with the Banyamulenge and have made greater efforts to
reconcile, were less predictable. End comments.

5. (SBU) The other set of speeches was made by smaller ethnic
groups: the Babuyu, the Babwari and the Banyamulenge. The Babuyu
and the Babwari denounced the abuses by the Bembe illegal militia
(non-brassaged Mayi-Mayi troops), and the Bembe's tendency to
militarily occupy their land and to impose their political
authority. They demanded that their rights be re-established and
(similarly to the Bembe and the Fulero) requested that the Bembe
submitted to their legitimate customary authorities.

6. (SBU) Evidently the most relevant declaration issued by a
minority tribe was that of the Banyamulenge, which was read by
Alexis Gisaro, the son of late National Deputy Frederic Gisaro
(Mobutu regime), elected by the Uvira constituency in the 1970s. In
reaction to the two previous anti-Tutsi speeches, Alexis Gisaro also
revisited the history of the Banyamulenge's arrival from Rwanda and
Burundi, which he dated as the 16th century. He then argued that
the Tutsi were politically discriminated against and targeted by
systematic violence. He gave an account of the massacres and abuses
which targeted the Banyamulenge, notably the Gatumba massacre
(August 2004), that Alexis blamed on a Congolese commando supported
by the FNL. The most controversial statement, however, was his
request that the Minembwe territory be recognized. The statement
immediately triggered open hostility from the majority of the
participants, who booed at the speaker.

7. (SBU) Gisaro concluded his speech by listing the "pistes de

KINSHASA 00000046 002 OF 002

solutions" (leads in the search for solutions) for the South Kivu
conflict: (a) stop ethnically targeted abuses and address issues of
discrimination; (b) suspend hostilities and start dialogue (with the
Insurgents); (c) repatriate the FDLR; (d) provide sufficient
logistical support to the Integrated Bdes deployed in the Hauts
Plateaux; (e) repatriate the refugees by establishing Tripartite
accords (GoDRC - UNHCR - host country); (f) repatriate the bodies of
the victims of the Gatumba massacre, and bury them with honor: (g)
recognize the "Territory" of Minembwe; (h) set up post-Conference
mechanisms to ensure genuine ethnic cohabitation through constant
dialogue; (i) provide supplementary protection to the FARDC elements
of Tutsi origin; (j) extend amnesty to the military who have been
accused but as yet not tried; (k) the Bembe and the Fulero should
submit to the laws of the country and respect legitimate rights, as
well as stop exploiting other minority tribes.

8. (SBU) Comments: Gisaro's speech, though more sophisticated and
better structured than the ones of the Bembe and the Fulero, was a
provocative one. Most non-Tutsis delegates from South Kivu were
expecting the Banyamulenge to request the recognition of Minembwe as
a Territory, a demand that had triggered violent demonstration in
the past in South Kivu. From sources within the Bureau, MONUC was
informed that the problem will be discussed in the Grand Atelier du
Sud Kivu, yet it will require the intervention of the "Comite des
Sages" (Committee of Wise Men).

9. (SBU) In the evening of 12 January, MONUC took part in the daily
meeting between the Bureau and the External Facilitators' Team. In
the debrief with Fr. Malu Malu, he mentioned that the day was marked
by high tension and that the groups radicalized their positions
against the Banyamulenge. Fr. Malu Malu commented on the Plenary
identifying few main issues: (a) All peoples of South Kivu have gone
through (in different phases) a horrific cycle of violence. The
psychological wounds are still unaddressed; (b) the tension existing
between Fulero, Bembe, and Banyamulenge is the most serious problem
in South Kivu, and must be addressed; (c) it has emerged that most
delegations are composed of radicals; (d) there is a need to address
the past and seek forgiveness in order to de-traumatize these

10. (SBU) He informed that it would be the task of the Comit des
Sages to handle the matter, which is emerging as one of the biggest
challenges of the whole conference (reportedly, the tone of the
North Kivu declarations was more conciliatory). He further
commented that the heated historical debate of the origin of the
Banyamulenge was a senseless one, as the issue of nationality was
already solved during the Electoral process. Concerning the issue
of the Minembwe Territory recognition, he appeared dismissive,
arguing that it would be difficult to create a Territory outside the
framework of the Constitution. He suggested, however, that
developing the Hauts Plateaux, improving governance and
administration, and enhancing the rule of law (especially at the
borders with Rwanda and Burundi) would be a way to reduce the
tension and respond to the Banyamulenge's expectations.



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