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Cablegate: Brazzaville in Brief - July 25, 2008

P R 251659Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRAZZAVILLE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1088
INFO AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
AMEMBASSY PARIS
AMEMBASSY BRAZZAVILLE

UNCLAS BRAZZAVILLE 000196


PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS;DEPT FOR AF/C
SSARDAR,KWYCOFF,SFOX;DEPT FOR AF/EX JSWAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM ECON PGOV CF
SUBJECT: BRAZZAVILLE IN BRIEF - JULY 25, 2008

1. Embassy Brazzaville is an unclassified post.

2. Kouilou region asks for forgiveness: A delegation of
government leaders who represent the Pointe Noire-Kouilou area
in their legislative duties, led by the Minister of Hydrocarbons
Taty Loutard, presented themselves to President Denis
Sassou-Nguesso to apologize for the recent incident in Pointe
Noire and to assure the president it would not happen again. The
president responded, not with forgiveness, but with an African
proverb that translates to: "when the rats in the garden want
the cheese in the house, it is the mice in the house which show
them the way in," alluding to the fact that he was fully aware
of the people who were behind the incident. The president also
pointed out that when he and Mrs. Sassou-Nguesso entered the
ceremony, no one in the congregation stood up to show them the
proper respect. He reminded the delegation of how much he
assisted the deceased during his time of illness and that he has
always shown preferential treatment to the needs of Pointe
Noire.

3. Independent news reporter arrested and detained: Christian
Perrin, a reporter for an independent television station in
Pointe Noire, was arrested by the Direction de Surveillance du
Territoire (DST) and detained for one night at the police
station in Pointe Noire. He was charged with attempting to
incite a riot. Perrin had filmed the July 5 riot in which
stones were thrown at the President's motorcade during the
burial of Thystere Tchicaya (see reftel). Perrin's station,
Tele Pour Tous, showed footage of the incident on the local
station in Pointe Noire in spite of the government's directive
not to do so. On July 20, Perrin invited two opposition party
members to discuss the recent local elections on the air, and
Perrin was arrested the following morning. Upon his release he
reported that he had not been mistreated by the DST, merely
targeted for broadcasting the footage on television.
Approximately 30 people have been arrested and detained for the
July 5 incident. Liberti sans frontieres reports that one
detainee, Guy Poaty, died from wounds suffered during torture by
the DST. Post has been unable to confirm.

4. Yet another death among the government elite: Marcel
Dzangui Ombissa, a senator and member of the presidential
majority, died while presenting a speech at Parliament on
maternal mortality. This is the seventh death of a high-ranking
government leader since May 2007.

5. Getting organized for the elections: Leaders of The
Rassemblement pour la Majoriti Prisidentielle(RMP), which is
composed of 82 political parties that support President
Sassou-Nguesso, are discussing the need to develop one major
political party prior to the 2009 presidential elections,
claiming that one strong political party would assure the
President's re-election in the first round of voting.
Meanwhile, another candidate has thrown his hat in the ring:
Anguios Nganguia-Engmbi, a customs officer, who stated that
although he has parted ways with the president's political
party, PCT, he will not resign his membership in the party, and
will run as an independent candidate even though his party is
part of the RMP.

6. Italians interested in producing bio fuel and shoes: Fri-el
Green has been granted 40,000 hectares of Congolese land for the
next 30 years to produce bio fuel and palm oil, with the
stipulation that the company will begin to set up its enterprise
by September and be in full production mode by February 2009.
Italian-owned Euroscarpa announced a plan to develop a shoe
factory in RoC. The factory will hire 150 to 200 Congolese for
a daily production of 500 shoes.


GREGG

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