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Cablegate: Goma Notes 06/05/2008: Nairobi Process - Jmg Task Force

VZCZCXRO7784
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0520 1641459
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121459Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8116
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 000520

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS KPKO CG RW UN
SUBJECT: GOMA NOTES 06/05/2008: NAIROBI PROCESS - JMG TASK FORCE
VISITS MWENGA

1. (SBU) Summary: The JMG Task Force traveled June 5 to Mwenga in
South Kivu to observe actions being taken by the Congolese
government against FDLR in the area. Three battalions consisting of
1,575 fighters are deployed throughout Mwenga town and district.
Government representatives there inspired little confidence. The
commanding officer of the FARDC 12th Integrated Battalion claimed it
was constrained by resources, but were otherwise capable of
discharging their mission. The territorial administrator appeared
not to have been properly briefed, and may even be collaborating
with the FDLR. End summary.

2. (SBU) The Nairobi process Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) Task
Force traveled June 5 to Mwenga, South Kivu to observe Congolese
government measures against the FDLR in the area. Mwenga is an
important FDLR zone: the headquarters of the FDLR Second Division
is located in Kigogo, approximately 15 km from Mwenga town.

3. (SBU) The Task Force first visited the FARDC 12th Integrated
(and retrained) Battalion, which is headquartered in Mwenga and
consists of 750 soldiers. It arrived in the area April 7 following
training by MONUC at the Luberizi brassage center and is deployed
for 90 km along the main Bukavu-Shabunda road. According to the
battalion commander, a FARDC colonel, it is constrained by
resources, but otherwise capable of discharging its mission. These
"constraints," however, were transport, communications, food and
medicine. (Note: In a later meeting, MONUC added ammunition to
this list. End note.)

4. (SBU) The colonel said the battalion does not venture far off
the main road, if at all. He said it has good relations with the
local population, "except when it does not." He said that that they
do not collect taxes and had dismantled roadblocks set up by the
battalion previously deployed there.

5. (SBU) According to the FARDC, the FDLR is deployed throughout
Mwenga town and district. FDLR forces consist of 1,575 fighters in
three battalions, and are equipped with anti-aircraft guns, mortars
and RPGs. They are located in the forest and hills, where there are
no roads. The FARDC claims no contact with the FDLR.

6. (SBU) The Rwandan delegate pointedly asked what 750 FARDC troops
could do against 1,500 FDLR fighters. The FARDC response: it is
currently in the process of establishing a presence. It planned to
gradually build up forces in the area, then progressively engage the
FDLR.

7. (SBU) The Task Force then called on the territorial
administrator, who appeared not to have been briefed prior to the
meeting, nor possess an understanding of the issues at hand. He
claimed, for example, that territorial administrators are not
involved in the FDLR public information campaign; he said he had
been told that the Amani program was responsible for this. He said
he was unfamiliar with the work of, and had never met with, MONUC
DDRRR officers. (Note. In fact, MONUC DDRRR operates in the area
and has produced defections. End note.) He claimed he has no
contact with the FDLR, but then noted that an FDLR commander had
invited him to his wedding (he said he did not attend).

8. (SBU) Congolese delegation chief Colonel Augustin Mamba was
clearly uncomfortable with the administrator's statements. He
intervened frequently to "amplify," "complete" or "enrich" what the
administrator was saying. Finally, he invented a weather problem as
justification for cutting the meeting short.

9. (SBU) The Task Force ended its trip with a briefing from MONUC,
a standard presentation on implementation of the Nairobi process
which emphasized the continuous training and other support it is
giving to the 12th Battalion.

10. (SBU) Comment: Task Force members asked few hard questions
during the visit to Mwenga, but government representatives there
inspired little confidence. In general, the FARDC appeared to be
doing little against the FDLR, while the territorial administrator
is either completely unaware of the issues at hand or is actively
cooperating with the FDLR. According to OCHA, FDLR fighters are
active members, even leaders, of his territorial security committee.
End comment

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