Search

 

Cablegate: Goma Notes 03/17/08 - Visit to Cob Tongo (Masisi

VZCZCXRO1098
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0278/01 0810759
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 210759Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7703
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 000278

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MOPS KPKO CG UN
SUBJECT: GOMA NOTES 03/17/08 - VISIT TO COB TONGO (MASISI
TERRITORY)


1. (SBU) Summary: Lack of reliable cartography doomed an effort
March 17 to delineate an "exclusion" (buffer) zone between PARECO
and CNDP at Tongo in Masisi Territory. MONUC committed to following
up with a proper meeting in Goma, with maps at hand. Tongo is a
sensitive point at the intersection of CNDP, FARDC, PARECO and FDLR
zones of control; FDLR and/or PARECO conduct raids into CNDP-held
areas. The village of Bambo (N/NE of Tongo) is a flashpoint. MONUC
has established a Company Operating Base (COB) at Tongo and intends
to do the same at Bambo. CNDP delegates expressed considerable
indignation at being told that their plans to attack FDLR positions
to the east and south-east of Tongo would be a cease-fire violation.
COB Tongo has received ten CNDP or FDLR surrenders since February
10. None seems to know much about what is going on. End summary.

2. (SBU) As part of the International Facilitation's ongoing effort
to assist in the creation of "exclusion zones" in areas with high
incidence of cease-fire violations, Jean-Michel Dumont and EUSEC Lt.
Colonels Pecheux and Corvalan for the EU, USAID's Nicholas Jenks and
Willet Weeks and MONUC's Colonel Narayan and Lt. Colonel Legendre
traveled March 17 with representatives of PARECO and CNDP to MONUC
Company Operational Base (COB) Tongo in Masisi Territory, manned by
a South African company, Major Keso commanding.

3. (SBU) The effort to identify a workable exclusion area was
considerably complicated by the COB's lack of usable maps showing
key locations in their operational area, a situation that especially
the EUSEC officers and Legendre found little short of astonishing.
The South Africans had GPS coordinates for most -- but not all --
the locations they patrol, but had not yet plotted these. After
over an hour of hard work and discussion with Major Keso and his
staff sergeant in charge of intelligence, the group was able to come
up with a rough sketch, but certainly nothing that would be adequate
for the purpose at hand. Given the absence of reliable cartography,
it was impossible to delineate, even on a preliminary basis, any
kind of possible exclusion zone during the visit.

4. (SBU) Any effort to visit the nearby village was cut off by CNDP,
which urged the Facilitation to go and interview the director of a
school from which, according to UNICEF reports, children had been
abducted to serve as child soldiers. The team could, CNDP said,
speak to the school director and "determine the truth" for
themselves. The Facilitation quickly pointed out that such
investigations can only be done by professional organizations with
proper mandates, and that anything of the sort was out of the remit
of the Facilitation. Fear of further such bushwhacking kept them at
the COB.

Key points made or reiterated during the visit
--------------------------------------------- -

5. (SBU) Tongo is a sensitive point. The COB is located in a
farmhouse on the edge of the Masisi escarpment. CNDP is in control
of the immediate surrounding highlands, FARDC holds territory
downhill to the east, beginning at a point west of the town of
Kalengera (location of another South African base). FDLR and/or
PARECO are present to the northeast and conduct raids into CNDP-held
areas within the COB's operational area. They have raided the
localities of Murindi and Musereka repeatedly, apparently in
connection with cattle theft.

6. (SBU) The village of Bambo (N/NE of Tongo), where there is a
Thursday market attended by members of CNDP, FDLR, PARECO and FARDC,
is a flashpoint. The COB patrols the area, and the plan is to place
a COB there and demilitarize the market. The COB will be manned by
a Senegalese unit which has yet to arrive in-country.

7. (SBU) CNDP has informed Kose that it intends to attack and take
control of FDLR positions at Gagandu and Kibumba, to the east and
southeast of Tongo. They claim that such an attack would be within
the mandate of the recent UNSC resolution and would be justifiable
following the expiration of the March 15 deadline for FDLR
surrender. Kose says he has been very clear in telling CNDP that
any such action would be a cease-fire violation and would be
strictly prohibited. CNDP has no grounds for taking offensive
action against FDLR, which is solely within the purview of joint
FARDC-MONUC operations.

8. (SBU) CNDP delegates present expressed considerable indignation:
how is it that even though the FDLR is not a signatory to the Goma
accords, these somehow preclude CNDP action against FDLR? Although
MONUC and the rest of the Facilitation insisted that this was indeed
the case, the CNDP delegates were clearly unwilling to accept this
interpretation. It is unclear whether the CNDP is actually planning
offensive operations against FDLR or is simply trying to make the

KINSHASA 00000278 002 OF 002


point that it ought to be allowed to do so, a position it had also
taken in a March 16 meeting with FARDC Deputy Chief of Staff General
Gustave Amuli arranged by MONUC (septel).

9. (SBU) There have been ten surrenders to the COB since February
10, some with weapons: seven from CNDP requesting protection and
DDR and three from FDLR requesting DDRRR. COB staff questions the
surrendering troops (none of them, in either group, seems to know
much about what is going on), then transfers them to Rutshuru and
eventually to Goma for DDRRR or DDR. Surrenders usually occur over
weekends, when the groups' vigilance is lowered. Surrendering
personnel speak of others being caught, tortured and in some cases
executed.

10. (SBU) Appropriately, the trip, which had begun with a short
helicopter ride from Goma, ended (because bad weather made it
impossible for a helicopter to return) in a long (three-hour),
rattling, and wet drive back to Goma. There was no evidence of any
armed presence (though the area is said to be under tight CNDP
control) until a point four or five km outside of Kalengera, where
the first FARDC patrols appeared. Villages on the CNDP side
appeared mostly deserted. As the team was in a MONUC convoy, it was
waved easily through all checkpoints (one reportedly CNDP, though
operated as a civilian toll collection point, the others all FARDC).


Comment
-------

11. (SBU) Further discussions will be held within the next week in
Goma, where detailed maps are supposedly available. An exclusion
zone stretching from the present COB at Tongo and the proposed
Senegalese base at Bambo would, along with the demilitarization of
the Bambo market, be a good thing, everybody agreed -- in principle.
End comment.

GARVELINK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC