Cablegate: Goma Report September 11 - Monuc Goes

DE RUEHKI #0751/01 2560804
P 120804Z SEP 08



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Goma Report September 11 - MONUC Goes
on the Offensive, CNDP Withdraws

1. (SBU) Summary: Reflecting a marked change of MONUC's military
posture, Force Commander General Gaye told the facilitation team
September 11 that MONUC would use force as necessary to push CNDP
back to previous lines. By the end of the day, North Kivu brigade
said it had evicted CNDP from two points earlier occupied (Kirotshe
and Kayala) to the north and south of previous lines. CNDP declared
an immediate and unilateral withdrawal from all positions taken in
the past few days. End Summary.

2. (SBU) MONUC Force Commander, General Babucar Gaye, present in
Goma September 10-11 on a farewell tour, told the facilitation team
on the morning of September 11 that MONUC was prepared to use force
as necessary to ensure CNDP's withdrawal to previously-held lines.
He clarified that use of force by MONUC would not be dependent on
such factors as had been present at Nyanzale (pre-existing FARDC
battalion headquarters and MONUC base) to justify force. He said
that there would be no use of force against FARDC, in the event of
FARDC violation of ceasefire or intrusion into agreed buffer zones
("Kabila would immediately send us out of the country"). He cited
key factors in this change of policy as being the weakness of the
FARDC and the rising anti-MONUC sentiment of the populace, as well
as the success of MONUC's firm actions in Nyanzale. Questioned
about the FARDC's dispatch of two anti-FDLR battalions trained by
MONUC to the area around Kanyabayonga to deal with CNDP, Gaye said
that such redeployment by FARDC, while it had negative implications
for the operation against FDLR, was a predictable consequence of
CNDP's forays so far from its previous lines. (Note: Similarly,
MONUC has also been using its companies attached to FARDC's
anti-FDLR battalions to reinforce its own positions.)

3. (SBU) According to briefings by North and South Kivu brigades,
at opening of day September 11 CNDP was significantly present in the
area of Kirotshe, where the South African base had been caught in
the midst of heavy cross fire between CNDP and Mai Mai Cobra for
much of September 10. The towns of Bweramana and Minova, in South
Kivu, had suffered intense shelling in the course of September 10,
with 500-1000 IDP's pouring into Minova and with even the police and
civil administration seeking refuge at the South Kivu brigade base
there. The North Kivu brigade helicopter base at Ngungu reported
that PARECO had pushed CNDP out of Ngungu, with 5,000 IDPs reaching
the base. PARECO/Mai Mai had also attacked the CNDP "at last light"
September 10 at Bihambwe, the furthest-west village under CNDP
control on the Sake-Masisi road. At opening of September 11 there
continued to be a significant presence of CNDP at Kayala, 20 kms.
south of Kanyabayonga, and there was also a presence at Kisheshe, a
similar distance from the Rutshuru-Kanyabayonga highway at Mabenga.
North Kivu brigade confirmed that there had been a CNDP-FDLR
skirmish west of Kayala.

4. (SBU) Deputy Chief of Staff Col. James Cunliffe briefed the
facilitation team at 16:00 September 11. He confirmed that the
Force Commander had signed an order earlier in the day for MONUC
military to use force as necessary against CNDP and other armed
groups (but not FARDC) to force them to return to positions held on
January 23. (Note: It is not clear why the emphasis was on January
23, the date of signature of the Actes d'Engagement in Goma, rather
than August 27, the day before the present cycle of military
activity.) Cunliffe said that MONUC was elaborating a plan with
daily targets of action against the CNDP until it returned to
previous positions. MONUC would, he said, use non-lethal means as
much as possible. Failing verbal warnings, MONUC would use warning
shots and then lethal force. Once CNDP was forced back to its
former positions, MONUC military would pursue the second phase with
CNDP, i.e., to determine formal buffer zones along the whole of the
CNDP periphery. (There are now only three small buffer zones,
signed onto by CNDP, at Ngungu, Muheto, and Tongo.)

5. (SBU) Cunliffe said that North Kivu brigade had had military
contact, including some use of lethal force, during the day with
CNDP at two locations, Kirotshe and Kayala, and CNDP had been
evicted from these two places. Cunliffe said that MONUC would not
reveal its plans for future targeting of CNDP. North Kivu brigade
had used BMPs, firing four rounds from their main guns, against CNDP
at Kayala. He said that FARDC claimed that there was a column of
CNDP moving from the area of Kisheshe by way of Kirumba toward the
Rutshuru-Kanyabayonga highway, and North Kivu brigade was now
undertaking "heavy patrolling" in the area of Mabenga, including
dispatch of two BMPs from Mutabo.

6. (SBU) At the end of the day, CDNP under the signature of Laurent
Nkunda issued a "Unilateral Withdrawal of the CNDP" (text and
translation to follow septel), stipulating that the withdrawal was
immediate from all positions taken on all fronts since the
resumption of hostilities in the past few days. It warned that CNDP
would not tolerate any provocation from FARDC or armed groups, "even

KINSHASA 00000751 002 OF 002

a single bullet." Note: The formulation, "past few days" ("de ces
derniers jours"), is unclear, and may or may not mean the status quo
ante August 28. The declaration does not touch on FARDC withdrawal
from points it occupied in the Rutshuru corridor buffer zone. CNDP
leaves itself room for resumption of hostilities in the event of bad
behavior by FARDC, PARECO, or other armed groups. End note.


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