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Cablegate: Fardc 14th Brigade: A Burden to Kabare Residents

VZCZCXRO7295
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0441 1400603
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 190603Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8011
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 KINSHASA 000441

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MOPS PHUM PGOV PINS SOCI CG
SUBJECT: FARDC 14TH BRIGADE: A BURDEN TO KABARE RESIDENTS

1. (SBU) Summary. The FARDC 14th Brigade looted two schools in
Kabare Center, South Kivu on April 28 and continues to plunder the
local population, including food supplies. The 14th Brigade settled
in Kabare since it disintegrated during fighting with the CNDP in
North Kivu in December 2007. A South Kivu national deputy and a
traditional chief from Kabare have called upon the national
government to either provide support for the troops or to remove
them from Kabare Center. The problem of providing support to troops
is endemic in the FARDC. End summary.

2. (U) FARDC troops of the 14th Integrated Brigade under Col. John
Tshibangu looted two schools in Kabare Center, South Kivu province
on April 28, according to Radio Okapi. A MONUC mission visiting
Kabare the same day noted that the same troops were plundering local
food supplies. Tshibangu confirmed these facts to Radio Okapi and
announced that six of his soldiers had been arrested and were
currently in custody at the military court in Bukavu.

3. (SBU) Zubaida Rasul, head of MONUC's Bukavu field office,
confirmed to us May 7 the events in the Radio Okapi report.
Additionally, she said this was the infamous brigade that
disintegrated while fighting the CNDP in North Kivu in December
2007. After fleeing the fighting, they congregated in Minova, South
Kivu and started to terrorize the local population. Later in
December, they settled in their present location in Kabare Center.
Rasul said that the 14th brigade does not receive any financial
assistance from the FARDC and that there are no facilities in Kabare
Center to support them, thus they are living off the local
population. Rasul also said that she understood they have been
ordered to report to Kitona, Bas-Congo province, but there is no
logistical support available to transport them.

4. (SBU) On April 18, Solide Birindwa, a national deputy from South
Kivu, called on the National Assembly to summon the Defense Minister
and ask him to pull the brigade out of Kabare or provide for its
logistical support, including housing. Birindwa said troops from
the 14th Brigade had been stealing, raping, destroying the
environment and occupying homes. He also said there are ethnic
conflicts among the troops; the brigade is a mixture of Hutu and
Tutsi soldiers.

5. (SBU) Birindwa told us May 7 that the National Assembly has
drafted a letter to the Minister of Defense and that he will deliver
the letter as soon as a final copy is available. The traditional
chief of Kabare, Prince Desire Kabare, told us in March that he had
sent a letter to the government demanding either that they provide
support to the troops or that they remove them from Kabare Center.

6. (SBU) Comment: The problem of providing support to military
troops is endemic in the FARDC. The Congolese military does not
have the administrative or logistical capacity to pay, feed, and
house all of its soldiers. The presence of improperly trained and
inadequately supported troops in the volatile Kivus represents a
legitimate threat to the ongoing peace process in eastern Congo.
End comment.

BROCK

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