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Cablegate: Goma Round-Up February 3, 2008

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RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0120/01 0351625
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041625Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7469
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000120

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SOCI CG
SUBJECT: Goma Round-Up February 3, 2008

Ref: Kinshasa 116

1. (SBU) Summary: Kabila's envoy met South Kivu armed groups (minus
Banyamulenge dissidents) February 2 in Goma and will meet with them
again in Bukavu February 4. Rumors of a split in CNDP appear to be
false. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The principal disturbance in the Kivus February 3 was an
earthquake at 09:34 with its epicenter 20 kilometers north of Bukavu
(reftel). Tremors were noticeable in Goma but no loss of human life
was reported here. Aftershocks persisted through the day, moving
from the western escarpment to the eastern escarpment. The
perennial fear in Goma is that shifting in the rift will, at some
point, cause a rupture in the sides or base of the volcano
Nyiragongo (15 kilometers north of Goma), which has the largest lava
pool in the world and which leaked most recently in 2002 with great
material damage to Goma. But Goma and Gisenyi have apparently
escaped the volcanic nightmare this time around.

3. (SBU) The rumor mill at the end of the week carried the message
that the CNDP had split, with the leader of Nkunda's eastern pocket,
Sultani Makenga, as the leader of a separate party. Poloff spoke
February 3 to Bertrand Bisimwa, member of the CNDP delegation to the
Kivus Conference, who said that he had just spoken by telephone to
Makenga, who he said laughed at the rumor. (Bisimwa said he himself
planned to remain in Goma as CNDP representative.) MONUC Eastern
Division commander General Bikram Singh told Poloff that he had had
his local commander ask Makenga directly what was going on, and
Makenga had similarly told him that there was nothing to the rumor.
Apparently, Makenga had been holding meetings to inform his forces
about the Acte d'Engagement, which meetings had been interpreted in
the rumor mill to mean he was splitting off from Nkunda.

4. (SBU) Separately, the chief of MONUC's Joint Military Assessment
Committee told PolCouns February 4 in Kinshasa that a series of
upgrades in the ranks of CNDP officers was the proximate cause of
the rumor. The process, which for example promoted Makenga and
other senior battalion commanders to brigadier general, was aimed to
ensure they would enter the FARDC through brassage at the higher
ranks.

5. (SBU) At the end-of-week OCHA meeting February 1, the UN security
officer reported that the titular head of PARECO, "General" La
Fontaine Kakule, had expressed willingness to go to brassage with
200 combatants. (Note: PARECO appears to have several branches,
but a representative of PARECO spoke at the Kivus Conference in the
name of La Fontaine. La Fontaine has in fact already gone through
the brassage process. End note.) The security officer also noted
reports of recent fighting between the FOCA and RUD factions of
FDLR, north of Rutshuru. OCHA reported that the roads to the west
(Masisi) and to the north (Rutshuru and beyond) of Goma were open
with traffic moving unhindered.

6. (SBU) Kivus Conference president Apollinaire Malu Malu called EU
poloff Jean-Pierre Dumont to say that he would be returning to
Kinshasa from Canada February 7 and perhaps coming to Goma February
8. He sought Dumont's views on the aftermath of the conference, to
which Dumont responded that Kabila's envoy, Vice-Admiral Didier
Etumba, had gotten through a rocky week but that it had ended well.
Dumont told Malu Malu that there was considerable confusion about
the structures to be established in the wake of the conference.
Malu Malu said that his grand concept of structures need not be
taken too seriously, as the key organ would be the Technical
Commission and particularly its military component functioning in
the Kivus; all the rest, he said, was show to please ethnic and
armed groups.

7. (SBU) Kabila is sending a political team to Goma February 4, led
by Norbert Basengezi Katintima, a confidant of conference leader
Vital Kamerhe. Katintima told Dumont that the team's mission was to
support the efforts of Etumba, including bringing along an extra
$50,000 to hand out to needy armed groups (if necessary) to promote
their "flexibility."

8. (SBU) Etumba met 17 representatives of South Kivu Mai Mai groups
February 2 at the Karibu Hotel in Goma, where they were gathered for
a week-long reconciliation workshop co-sponsored by the Wilson
Center. He urged them to travel February 3 to Bukavu, where Etumba
would convene a full meeting of South Kivu armed groups in situ --
meaning, the same groups plus the Banyamulenge rebel group FRF (or
Group of 47). His essential message to the South Kivu Mai Mai was,
"Do as I say, here is an extra 10,000 dollars" (which 8th Military
Region commander General Vainqueur Mayala handed over). The 17
agreed to do as told.

KINSHASA 00000120 002 OF 002

9. (SBU) International facilitators (EU, UK, U.S.), SRSG Chief of
Staff John Almstrom, and General Singh will participate in the
Bukavu meeting February 4. Almstrom and Singh will emphasize, as
they did to the North Kivu armed groups January 31, the importance
of utilizing the interim MONUC focal point to handle allegations of
ceasefire violations.

GARVELINK

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