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Cablegate: Frf - Security Concerns, but High Hopes for International

VZCZCXRO8378
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0200/01 0581129
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 271129Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7592
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000200

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL MOPS PGOV KPKO CG
SUBJECT: FRF - security concerns, but high hopes for international
facilitation of Goma process

REF: Kinshasa 186

1. Summary. International facilitators met FRF leadership February
26 in South Kivu's High Plains. FRF complained about FARDC
harassment of civilians and demanded investigation of FARDC human
rights abuses. They asked MONUC to deploy in several villages,
agreed to detail a FRF liaison officer to the South Kivu Brigade
Commander's office in Bukavu and agreed in principle to submit names
for the Technical Commission. Like other armed groups, they have
high expectations of MONUC and other facilitators: to provide
security, protect the population, help rebuild trust between the
parties, and convince the government to consult with others before
issuing a second decree. End Summary.

------------------------
In the middle of nowhere
------------------------

2. (SBU) International facilitators (MONUC, U.S., EU, Belgium) and
leaders of the Banyamulenge dissident group FRF held a productive
90-minute meeting February 26 in Kanambo, an isolated village in the
mountains east of Minembwe about an hour by helicopter from Bukavu.
MONUC's South Kivu Brigade Commander General Salawat and SRSG Chief
of Staff John Almstrom headed the international delegation. Its two
principal leaders, Colonel Venant Bisogo (president) and General
(formerly Major) Michel Rukunda (chief of staff), headed the FRF
group; political secretary Zebede Gasore acted as chief spokesman.


3. (SBU) The MONUC helicopter transporting the international group
landed on a small plateau jointly guarded by heavily-armed MONUC
peacekeepers and FRF fighters. The isolation of these small
villages and the difficulty in deploying troops there was
immediately apparent: there were no roads, merely well-traveled
paths circling and running over the mountains.

4. (SBU) The group met sitting in a circle on the grass near the
landing site. Bisogo, dressed in an ill-fitting suit and a black
suede cowboy hat, delivered an opening statement in Swahili, but
quickly handed speaking duties to Gasore. Gasore presented FRF
concerns, at times consulting his delegation of a dozen or so
members largely composed of soldiers in black rubber boots sporting
a variety of uniforms (FARDC, FAC, possibly GSSP and a mishmash of
others), equipped with radios and both light and heavy machine guns.


------------
FRF concerns
------------

5. (SBU) Gasore, speaking intently and referring to notes and a copy
of the Acte d'Engagement, which he referred to as his "Bible,"
expressed concerns in three areas: the presidential "Amani" decree,
continued lack of security and FARDC human rights violations.

6. (SBU) Gasore cited FRF unhappiness that the decree limited
Steering Committee membership to the government. He complained that
the government "wants to steer everything." The FRF had expected a
Committee that included the other signatories to the Acte, i.e.
civil society and international facilitators. "How can we be
guided," he asked, "by a government with which we have so many
problems?" He insisted the government "should take things
seriously," and not issue a second decree without consulting with
the other signatories.

7. (SBU) Gasore's second concern was security. The recent incident
at the brassage center in Kamina (reftel) was "an example" of what
the FRF stressed during the Kivus conference: there were
"extremists in the government and FARDC." FRF was ready to start
the integration process, but could not accept brassage under current
conditions. He said it needed security guarantees -- specifically,
amnesty -- because the government "doesn't live up to its
commitments."

8. (SBU) Finally, Gasore called on MONUC to deploy forces to
Moramvia and Minembwe, where he said FARDC soldiers had committed
serious human rights abuses. MONUC deployment was FRF's clear
preference, although as alternatives Gasore proposed reducing FARDC
numbers in the area, or deploying Congolese police in place of the
army.

9. (SBU) Salawat urged FRF to provide specifics about alleged
abuses, and agreed to look into further MONUC deployment on the High
Plains. He cautioned that the Brigade could not be stretched too

KINSHASA 00000200 002 OF 002


thin and had to reserve troops for more serious needs (i.e., the
FDLR). FRF agreed to Salawat's suggestion to detail a
representative to Bukavu as liaison with the South Kivu Brigade, and
committed to having that person picked up by MONUC helicopters
February 29.

---------------------------
Technical Commission members
---------------------------

10. (SBU) International faciltators pressed FRF to provide a list
of its nomnations for the Technical Commission. Gasore argud that
it should not do so in light of the arbitrry and unhelpful Amani
decree. Facilitators wer firm that if the FRF wanted to move
forward thee should be no preconditions. The FRF agreed inprinciple to provide a list, but left unresolved wether it would do
so without having first seen th draft of a follow-up decree.

11. (SBU) The meeing was hastily concluded due the need for the
hlicopter to leave the High Plains before the arrivl of an
incoming storm.

-------
Comment
------

11. (SBU) Like other armed groups which sgned the Acte, the FRF
foresees an extremely actve role for MONUC and other international
faciliators: to provide security, protect the populatio, and work
on building trust between parties tha are afraid of each other. A
second decree issue by the government without consultation with
thee groups could further block an already difficult rocess. End
comment

CLOUD

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