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Cablegate: Goma Report September 29: At Meeting With

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DE RUEHKI #0814/01 2740736
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O 300736Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8508
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
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RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000814

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS KPKO PHUM PREF CG
SUBJECT: Goma Report September 29: At meeting with
MONUC, CNDP says it will not withdraw further
until FARDC honors cease-fire

1. (SBU) Summary: Facilitation members joined a MONUC-CNDP meeting
near Bunagana September 29, in which CNDP refused to consider any
further withdrawals from proposed zones of separation until FARDC
ceases all military action and withdraws to pre-August 28 positions.
End Summary.

2. (SBU) On September 29, there was no exchange of fire or major
move of forces in any sector in the Petit Nord. Even at Rugari,
where FARDC amassed five tanks and other heavy weaponry along the
Rutshuru highway, FARDC held its fire, at the direct urging of North
Kivu brigade. (Note: On September 28, FARDC had pounded CNDP's
positions in the heights above Rugari, and even briefly occupied
Himbi Heights, from which CNDP had withdrawn. End note.) FARDC
continues to occupy Tongo and apparently reoccupied Kabizo (north of
Tongo) on September 28. North Kivu brigade operations chief gave
his view September 29 to facilitation members that FARDC appears to
be holding its ground better and moving with greater confidence now
than in the past.

3. (SBU) CNDP's commander of the Bunagana (eastern) sector Col.
Makenga on September 28 requested a meeting with North Kivu brigade
and the international facilitation at Chengerero (MONUC base near
Bunagana) on September 29. Deputy Commander Col. Negi led the
delegation. In the event, Makenga did not appear. He was
represented by Maj. Bagabo Castro and CNDP political officer
Benjamin Bonimpa. They said that Makenga could not attend because
he was preoccupied with the previous day's FARDC artillery barrages
at Rugari and was not able to leave in time to join the meeting.

4. (SBU) Negi laid out MONUC's concept of a preferred zone of
separation in the Rutshuru corridor. This plan, he said, would
include a further withdrawal of CNDP in three areas, east of Rugari,
east of Kanombe, and down the Bunagana road past Matebe. Negi
emphasized that FARDC had now withdrawn from Mutabo back to its
pre-August 28 position near Rutshuru and had withdrawn from
Ntamugenga, although not yet as far west there as MONUC would like.
He said MONUC would continue to press FARDC to withdraw from
Kisherero and from an area south of Rugari. He said that a minimum
three-kilometer separation was essential to ensure peace and,
strategically, "one hill here or there should not be important to
the CNDP."

5. (SBU) Castro said that CNDP had resumed all its pre-August 28
positions and was observing the ceasefire in every sector. It would
not consider further withdrawals, to create bigger buffer zones,
until FARDC observed the ceasefire in all sectors and similarly
withdrew to pre-August 28 positions. He objected to MONUC's plan of
a sequential withdrawal process, with the eastern zone of separation
created first, then south, west, and north. He noted that FARDC, in
partially withdrawing its force from Ntamugenga, had simply moved
that force west to occupy Tongo, which was also CNDP territory. It
was false, he said, to paint Rugari as a flashpoint, since FARDC had
simply used Rugari as an excuse to begin a bombardment, without any
attack there from CNDP.

6. (SBU) MONUC was, Castro continued, pursuing a false neutrality
which was lenient on FARDC but negative to CNDP, not stopping FARDC
attacks but attacking CNDP when CNDP hit the FARDC. CNDP did not
trust FARDC's withdrawal from Ntamugenga, which in fact CNDP had
considered to be its area prior to August 28. (Note: North Kivu
brigade now tells us that CNDP had continued to send patrols there,
even while its permanent presence, as now, was in the heights
overlooking Ntamugenga. End note.) Castro said that CNDP feared
that Ntamugenga would soon become another Kimoka. (Note: CNDP
allowed Kimoka to be occupied by MONUC as a neutral zone, but in
FARDC's recent barrage, FARDC parked its artillery around Kimoka.
CNDP sees this as MONUC complicity with FARDC, even though MONUC has
repeatedly admonished FARDC to keep away from its bases while
conducting operations. End note.)

7. (SBU) Bonimpa said that it was essential that CNDP and FARDC
meet at a high level. Facilitation members noted that FARDC Kivus
commander General Lukama had offered to meet CNDP at Kimoka, with no
positive response from CNDP. Bonimpa dismissed Lukama as too low in
stature and lacking in power. In fact, while insisting on a
high-level bilateral meeting, Bonimpa could not produce a single
FARDC or government interlocutor that would be satisfactory to the
CNDP.

8. (SBU) Other issues raised by CNDP included what it considered
targeted arrests of Tutsis in Rutshuru and Goma, FARDC collaboration
with FDLR and PARECO, and FARDC's indiscriminate use of its
multi-barreled rocket launchers that were causing high civilian
casualties.

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