Cablegate: Goma Notes: 04/12/08 - North Kivu "Goma" Spoilers

DE RUEHKI #0373/01 1141531
O 231531Z APR 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: For the last few weeks, there has been ferment
within and among the North Kivu armed groups, particularly among
those best known for close ties to the FDLR. This message is based
on reports of conversations between a MONUC military officer and
some of these groups, and a talk between USAID Goma liaison officers
and Clovis Munihire (protect), the North Kivu governor's liaison
with armed groups and newly-appointed permanent secretary of the
(as-yet-unformed) Amani Peace and Reconciliation Commission. The
questions at hand: are there Acte d'Engagement spoilers among the
North Kivu armed groups? If so, should the Facilitation try to
engage with them? If yes, how? This message raises these
questions, but does not answer them -- we need to learn more first.
End summary.

PARECO: Fragmenting? Reconfiguring?

2. (SBU) PARECO, or people claiming to speak for it, has been
threatening to withdraw from the Goma process since the appointment
of Firmin Mathe, of its Nande branch, to a largely ceremonial post
as a member of the Technical Harmonization Bureau (BTH) of the Joint
Technical Commission on Peace and Security. The noisiest agitator
on this has been "Museveni," of the Hutu branch, who holds the title
of PARECO "president" and who is the Hutu branch's focal point in

3. (SBU) Museveni was arrested April 4 in connection with an alleged
plot to induce the defection of Hutu FARDC units, perhaps to form a
new Hutu militia. He was released the next morning, evidently in
order to head off a PARECO withdrawal from the Goma process on the
eve of the April 6 inauguration of the Peace and Security
Commission. Museveni is still agitating, and threatening to take
PARECO and other Mai-Mai groups (perhaps Kifuafua, Vurondo or
Kasindien) with him, using the BTH issue as a pretext.

4. (SBU) There is no question that filling the BTH slot was poorly
handled by the Amani leadership. There is an analogous issue in
South Kivu -- in both cases, the armed groups' consensus nominees
were given other Amani jobs and their BTH slots were arbitrarily
filled by somebody else. However, this is clearly not the whole
issue, as shown by Museveni's arrest (along with several Hutu
officers, who as far as we know are still detained).

5. (SBU) PARECO -- especially its Hutu core under Commander Mugabo
-- is by all accounts an FDLR proxy, created and supported by the
GDRC/FARDC, or at least by elements therein.

6. (SBU) Munihire maintains that: a) many or most PARECO fighters
are in fact themselves FDLR; and b) these and other FDLR fighters
(or at least their cadres) continue, or continued until very
recently, to receive GDRC financial support. He is aware of monthly
salary payments being made to them at least through October 2007.
The middlemen on these payments are North Kivu National Assembly
deputies in Kinshasa.

7. (SBU) The ferment induced by the Nairobi process within the FDLR
(withdrawals from many areas, signs of anxiety, or at least of
changed tactics, as a result of the March 15 date signaled for
military operations, the UNSC resolution, etc.) seems to be having
an knock-on effect on PARECO. They feel exposed, and are probably
less at ease than ever with the Goma process. The problems thus go
far beyond the seemingly-trivial issue of the seat on the BTH,
though the latter does reflect what PARECO Hutu see as a symptom of
an unwelcome pro-Nande political tilt in the national government's
approach to North Kivu affairs. The appointment of Abbe Apollinaire
Malumalu (a Nande from the Grand-Nord) as Amani national coordinator
is a far stronger sign of this, in their eyes.

8. (SBU) The issue has created strains between PARECO-Mugabo (Hutu,
the main force) and PARECO-La Fontaine (Nande, much smaller; Firmin
Mathe is La Fontaine's brother).

9. (SBU) MONUC is planning a trip to Mugabo's headquarters in
Rutshuru. Members of the International Facilitation will accompany.
The ostensible purpose will be to verify whether Museveni is indeed
empowered to act for PARECO (or at least PARECO-Hutu) with respect
to issues such as withdrawal threats, to express strong disapproval
of such tactics, and to discuss the issue of the BTH slot.

10. (SBU) The Facilitation plans to use this opportunity to insist
on the importance of PARECO's remaining in the Goma process and to
point out that, with Nairobi pressures increasing in the coming
months, it will be important for PARECO to rethink its overall
position with respect to both processes, since UNSC resolutions and
other sanctions will increasingly put pressures on FDLR: PARECO has

KINSHASA 00000373 002 OF 002

no interest in being associated in any way with FDLR, and any
association can only bring diminishing returns. We will report
septel on this trip, which is scheduled for April 19.

11. (SBU) Comment: Nairobi-related stresses may be causing a
strategic rethink within PARECO-Mugabo and more broadly by militias
that retain close ties with FDLR (which is most of them). This
could lead to some kind of fragmentation/
realignment involving existing or, potentially, new Hutu militias.
This would be a bad outcome all around, but particularly for the
Goma process. PARECO might remain on paper as a nominal coalition
(with Hutu, Nande, Hunde and far-smaller and perhaps only notional
Tembo and Nyanga components) with a seat at the table in the Amani
Program, but there could be a realignment on the ground and an
expanding disconnect between any PARECO delegation to the JTCPS and
any actual armed units. The Peace and Security Commission could end
up integrating/DDRing supernumerary PARECO, etc. units just as new
Hutu militias form -- a very bad outcome indeed. End comment.

Other Forces

12. (SBU) It is known that not all armed groups in North Kivu are
within the Goma process. Two of these are, according to Munihire,
of particular concern as potential spoilers:

-- "Axe Nyabyondo:" A Hunde militia in the highlands and along the
escarpment northwest of Masisi town. This group is closely involved
with FDLR units, who accept the authority of the Hunde traditional
chiefs and are allowed in return to share in the local mining of
coltan and gold. This is an obscure group, but it has particular
potential as a spoiler because of its control of a key Masisi axis
and, again, because of its control of significant income streams.
There is a MONUC mobile operating base (MOB) at Nyabyondo, but it is
very isolated, and there is little or no contact between this
militia and MONUC or others.

-- In fact, "Axe Nyabyondo's" main point of contact with the
outside world is through a North National Assembly deputy and former
provincial vice governor, Bakungu Mithondeke, in Kinshasa, who was
present for the Goma conference but refused to sign the Acte
d'Engagement. Munihire , himself a Hunde, feels that it is time for
some kind of contact with Bakungu by which the increasing perils of
involvement with FDLR and of continued isolation from and refusal of
the Goma process can be made clear. (Comment: We would need
verification of Munihire's assertions and some further research into
local issues before any such initiative could be credibly
undertaken. End comment.)

-- Grand-Nord hold-outs: Again per Munihire, there are still
significant Nande armed units which have no direct link to any of
the Goma signatories. They are, again, associated with FDLR --
there may be as many as 3,000. More needs to be learned about them,
and about their links to the outside world. For now, they should be
considered potentially dangerous free radicals.

13. (SBU) Comment: This last point ties directly into concerns
about the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the public-information
efforts being conducted by Foreign Minister Mbusa Nyamwisi (also a
Nande): to what extent are Nande allies or proxies of the FDLR
being made aware of the increased emphasis on and momentum behind
Nairobi, let alone the FDLR themselves? No one seems to know.
More on this soon. End comment.


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