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Cablegate: Resurgent South Kivu Armed Groups: Moribund Forces

VZCZCXRO5184
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0472/01 1491538
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 281538Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8053
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000472

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM MOPS CG
SUBJECT: RESURGENT SOUTH KIVU ARMED GROUPS: MORIBUND FORCES
RESURRECTED BY THE GOMA CONFERENCE?

1. (SBU) Summary: Zubaida Rasul, MONUC Head of Office in
Bukavu, detailed for us that most of the signatories to the
South Kivu Acte d'Engagement were actually defunct or
non-existent prior to the Goma Peace Conference. The
conference in turn has provided them with legitimacy and
finances in the form of per diem payments, which they are
using to procure arms, recruit fighters, and re-activate old
Mai-Mai networks. Their principal goal is to secure their
economic livelihoods, whether through attempting to gain
access to the illicit minerals trade in the area or simple
banditry. As a result, there has been a spike in criminal
activity in the past few months, as well as several criminal
incidents directed against NGOs in late March and early
April. Rasul emphasized that because of the succor the Goma
Conference has provided to armed groups in the form of
legitimacy and per diem, South Kivu today is far more
dangerous than it was before Goma. We do not endorse -- or
reject -- Ms. Rasul's view that there is a causal
relationship between Goma and a resurgence of defunct
militias in South Kivu. Regardless, this phenomenon merits
close scrutiny. End summary

2. (SBU) Zubaida Rasul, MONUC Head of Office in Bukavu,
participated in a conference call with us on May 22 during
which she provided details and analysis regarding the
signatories to the South Kivu Acte d'Engagement. Rasul
emphasized that with the exception of the Mai-Mai groups
Yakutumba and Zabuloni and the Banyamulenge (Congolese Tutsi)
group Forces Republicaines Federalistes (FRF), all the
signatories were defunct or non-existent prior to the Goma
Peace Conference.

3. (SBU) Groups that were created or resuscitated by the
conference are:

-- Kapopo Mai-Mai
-- Kirikicho Mai-Mai
-- Mahoro Mai-Mai
-- Ny,kiriba Mai-Mai
-- Shabunda Mai-Mai
-- Shikito Mai-Mai
-- Simba Mai-Mai
-- Mudundo 40
-- PARECO/South Kivu
-- Raia Mutomboki

4. (SBU) Rasul underlined that she and other MONUC officers
attempted in advance to verify the existence of the invitees
to the conference, but that local security and civil society
actors had never heard of most of the groups in question. It
was unclear to her why they were invited, or who decided to
invite them, in the first place. They are, she said,
essentially creations of the Goma Conference, which provided
them both legitimacy and finances in the form of per diem
payments, which they are using to procure arms, recruit
fighters and re-activate old Mai-Mai networks.

5. (SBU) With the exception of the FRF, none of these groups
has an ideological or political agenda, but are essentially
economic opportunists, she said. Their goal is to secure
their economic livelihoods, whether through attempting to
gain access to the illicit minerals trade in the area or
simple banditry. Rasul emphasized that because of the succor
the Goma Conference has provided to armed groups in the form
of legitimacy and per diem, South Kivu today is far more
dangerous than it was before Goma.

6. (SBU) There has been a spike in criminal activity in the
past few months, as well as several criminal incidents
directed against NGOs in late March and early April. Rasul
pointed to the increased activity and presence of armed
groups since the Goma Conference as the reason for this
spike. The challenge, she said, is to find a way to provide
economic security for these groups ) that will be their
condition for disarmament and demobilization.

7. (SBU) Rasul also provided us some details on the process
of recruitment for these groups. The starting point for many
of these groups was to take the name of an old Mai-Mai leader
for prestige purposes and then reactivate old networks.
There are plenty of demobilized elements in South Kivu
without economic prospects who are easy to recruit ) their
loyalty is for sale. She said it is also likely that many
fighters work for several different groups.


KINSHASA 00000472 002 OF 002


8. (SBU) As for specific groups, Rasul noted that the
Yakutumba group is splitting into smaller pieces in the
absence of any control or discipline exerted by General
Yakutumba, who has been resident in Kinshasa since before the
Goma Conference. The group's fighters, she said, are
increasingly out of control, amid allegations of murder, rape
and robbery. The FRF, by contrast, is united around Gasore
Zebede. They are willing to negotiate their demobilization
in return for safety and immunity guarantees.

9. (SBU) PARECO elements are also active in South Kivu under
the name PARECO/South Kivu, which is connected to an influx
of Hutu IDPs from North Kivu alongside armed elements. There
are strong connections in South Kivu between PARECO and the
FDLR. Another recent and confusing phenomenon according to
Rasul is CNDP elements deploying under a PARECO banner )
Rasul said that PARECO spokespersons will call after an
incident attributed to this group to offer a denial and claim
that this CNDP group was actually the one responsible.

10. (SBU) Comment: Rasul's perspective regarding the
non-existence of most of these armed groups prior to the Goma
Conference is shared by some MONUC officers in Kinshasa as
well. Although their theory cannot be proven, increased
activity following the Goma Conference could point to a new
problem facing the GDRC and the international community in
the Kivus. End comment
GARVELINK

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