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Cablegate: Goma Notes 05/02/08 - Team Building: 20th Meeting of The

VZCZCXRO4821
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0428/01 1360607
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 150607Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7994
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000428

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS KPKO CG BE
SUBJECT: GOMA NOTES 05/02/08 - TEAM BUILDING: 20TH MEETING OF THE
JMG TASK FORCE, FIELD TRIP 2, 02 MAY 2008


1. (SBU) Summary: On May 2, Task Force members traveled by road to
the Headquarters of the 6th Integrated Brigade (FARDC) in Kiwanja,
Rutshuru Territory, which has responsibility for keeping FDLR troops
away from the Uganda border. The brigade's operations netted a
high-profile commander last month, Jean-Claude Bahati, but members
of the Rwandan Delegation doubted his importance and focused their
questions on the numbers and activity of remaining FDLR elements.
Brigade Commandant Mishimba said that there are few "real FDLR" in
his territory, but rather FOCA and RUD dissidents, along with
Congolese recruits; his staff could only estimate their numbers at
less than 220 "very mobile" fighters. The Task Force went on to meet
the civilian Territory Administrator, who insisted that uniformed
Rwandan army troops fight alongside CNDP units in Rutshuru,
eliciting a strong denial from Rwanda Delegation Chief Franco
Rutagengwa. The Administrator asserted that Rutshuru is
simultaneously the most negatively impacted territory in the DRC,
and the least supported by Kinshasa, with a population of one
million, including 700,000 displaced persons who are terrorized by
home-grown bandits and foreign fighters. He appealed to the
international community for help in governing, especially for a
vehicle for his office, never having received one despite two years
of asking. End summary.

A Clean-Up Mission
------------------

2. (SBU) Earlier this year the Joint Monitoring Group criticized the
performance of Col. Mishimba, commandant of the 6th Integrated
Brigade. Gen. Mayala, 8th MR Commander, redefined the unit's
mission and ordered its leader to carry out sweeps against the FDLR,
forcing them away from the Uganda border and back into the DRC.
Mishimba greeted the Task Force confident that the brigade's
successes since that time are sustainable. The new tactic allowed
Mishimba to arrest and "sensitize" FDLR commander Jean-Claude Bahati
and six other Rwandans, along with 64 Congolese fighters that
Mishimba calls "naive FDLR." Rwandan TF members, who themselves
interviewed Jean-Claude last week, discounted Mishimba's profile of
the captive, and concentrated their questions on remaining FDLR
elements in the territory. High on the list is Col. Soki, who told
the 6th IB on May 1 that he is willing to come in, though only with
guarantees of security and the benefit of an intra-Rwandan dialog
before returning home. Otherwise Soki will "hide in the bush."

3. (SBU) Col. Mishimba believes that most of the remaining fighters
are FOCA dissidents, who are open to leaving the DRC sooner or
later. The balance are RUD, a group Mishimba views harshly, calling
them extremists and dissidents from FOCA ("rebels from rebels"),
probably unwilling to leave the DRC under any conditions. The 6th
IB G-2 thinks these elements number between 200-220 men.

4. (SBU) The Rwandan delegation neither confirmed nor disputed Col.
Mishimba's assessment, but said it believes the Congolese who remain
in FDLR units are really Mai Mai. Mishimba appeared to agree.
According to his information, the only exclusively Rwandan units
remaining in North Kivu are in Walikale territory. "In fact, most
Rwandans are ready to go home, if there is security for them," he
finished.

Administrator Under Pressure
----------------------------

5. (SBU) Rutshuru's civilian Administrator, Dominique Bofondo,
invites FDLR members to his office, makes the sensitization
arguments and urges them to go home, but says he cannot get past
their so-called conditions: an intra-Rwandan dialogue, and exemption
from genocidaire status. His exasperation extends to CNDP and the
Rwandan government. He claims to have been present at many clashes
in which Rwandan soldiers fought alongside CNDP elements; he even
collected cell phones and photographs of women from the bodies of
these soldiers, telephoned the home numbers and spoke with the new
widows, who live in Rwanda. The Administrator gave these photos as
evidence to the Goma Peace and Security Conference, but to no avail.
"We could throw everyone out in one week with the 6th IB," he said,
"but our own government holds us back."

6. (SBU) Rwanda's chief delegate made a categorical denial that
Rwandan regulars are present with the CNDP or any other force, and
the Administrator refrained from arguing. Rather he appealed to the
delegations and the TF President for the funds and equipment he
needs to deal with the FDLR, especially vehicles and soldiers.
Bofondo said that the FDLR are brutes and murderers, but in an
effort to afford the population some protection from them, he spends
his own money to buy the enemy sugar, milk and cell-phone units to
keep lines of communication open.


KINSHASA 00000428 002 OF 002


7. (SBU) Comment: The field trip proved useful in two ways: First,
it helped to develop a pattern of joint interviewing among the
members, with the Rwandans displaying courtesy and restraint in
their dissenting points. Second, it made clear to the members that
some procedural improvements are essential. The TF adheres to a
policy of bilingual deliberation, and is continually plagued by
inadequate interpreters. On some occasions the bi-lingual members
pitch in to clarify points, but more often than not the points are
lost. This was the case when Rwanda asked the battalion commander
important questions (Who do you use to sensitize Hutus? What can
the international community do to assist you now?) that were garbled
by inept translation and ultimately left without clear answers as
the pressure of time intervened. Talking later among themselves,
the members agreed to raise translation issues as an internal matter
at their next meeting. End comment.

BROCK

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