Cablegate: October 3 Discussion with Colonel Mamba,

DE RUEHKI #0845/01 2801532
O 061532Z OCT 08



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: October 3 discussion with Colonel Mamba,
head of the DRC delegation to the JWG

1. (SBU) Summary: Goma poloff spoke October 3 with the head of the
Congolese delegation to the Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) Task Force,
Colonel Augustin Mamba. Mamba claimed the RUD disarmament in Kasiki
was overall a success story. He explained that working together
with certain figures that might be wanted in Rwanda was sometimes
necessary for the sake of achieving repatriation results. The GDRC
was not willing to accept allegations of collaboration with the
FDLR, but Rwanda's decision to "boycott" the most recent task force
meeting right after CNDP leader Nkunda's October 2 statement was
"proof" that the GOR was lending him support. End summary.

2. (SBU) Goma poloff, in role as current chair of the JMG Task
Force, spoke October 3 with the head of the Congolese JMG
delegation, Colonel Augustin Mamba to discuss issues relevant to the
Nairobi Communique. Coincidently, this meeting took place during
the usual time for the weekly JMG meeting, which had been canceled
due to the Rwandan delegation's refusal to attend. The meeting with
Mamba was not prompted by the Rwandans' decision but rather had been
requested two weeks prior.

Kasiki Camp

3. (SBU) The conversation started with a discussion of Kasiki Camp,
where 64 combatants from the FDLR group RUD (Ralliement pour l'unite
et la democratie) had disarmed on July 31 and were now residing with
their families. The question was how to finally get these
individuals repatriated and continue moving the process forward
since this issue is constantly raised at the task force meetings --
usually by the Rwandans -- as evidence that the Nairobi process is
going nowhere, with the subtext that the DRC is to blame. In the
small picture, the Kasiki issue was preventing productive discussion
at the weekly task force meeting and the other task force members
were growing tired of it. In the bigger picture, it had become more
a symbol for the challenges of implementing Nairobi rather than an
example of a successful repatriation process.

4. (SBU) Poloff explained that though much hope had been put into
the camp as the start of a longer disarmament process, it was
disappointing that the combatants had not been able to repatriate
after over two months. There were technical problems with the camp,
such as the fact that it was still in RUD territory and that MONUC
Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Resettlement or
Reintegration (DDRRR) teams had only minimal access. When DDRRR
finally did manage to register the residents, 95% of them declared
their desire to return home, although their leaders outside the camp
still insisted on such issues as an inter-Rwandan dialogue as a
pre-condition to return. Poloff continued to explain that there had
been other problems with the July 31 disarmament ceremony itself --
some of which some might be considered a violation of the Nairobi
Communique. For example, RUD executive secretary Felicien
Kanyamubwa was allowed to give a political speech to a rather large
audience, much to the anger of the Rwandan delegation in attendance.

5. (SBU) Mamba recognized that the Kasiki camp was a source of
frustration for many and said the "Rwandans would always have the
camp to fall back on when there was nothing else to complain about."
He also admitted that the RUD leadership had been very difficult to
work with. Still, he said, "if you expect them to disarm you should
be willing to listen to what they have to say." Mamba continued:
"Despite what the Rwandans might say, giving the floor to Kanyamubwa
at the disarmament ceremony was not a violation of Nairobi but
rather a common courtesy since the combatants had been nice enough
to disarm. No harm had been done because the main gist of his
speech was well known already. What really counted was the speech
of the DRC Foreign Minister, who praised the courage of the disarmed
combatants and encouraged them to go home."

6. (SBU) According to Mamba, the real violation of the Nairobi
Communique had been committed by Rwandan President Paul Kagame
himself when, in a recent interview for Le Soir, he openly supported
Nkunda and claimed that even if Nkunda were gone someone would
quickly take his place, "with, of course, the support of Rwanda."
(Note: This may be one interpretation of Kagame's interview but is
certainly not shared by many other members of the task force. End
note.) Mamba went on to complain about the Rwandans' demand to have
extensive biographical information on the camp residents before they
repatriated. This was ridiculous, he said, since through
intelligence or personal contacts the Rwandans already knew
precisely who was in the camp.

Shady Characters

KINSHASA 00000845 002 OF 003

7. (SBU) Poloff continued on the subject of why the GDRC felt the
need to deal with such figures as Felicien Kanyamubwa and John
Muhindo (a.k.a. Rafiki), the latter wanted in Rwanda for links to
the Interahamwe during the 1994 genocide. Was working with them
really that necessary given the fact that it absolutely infuriated
the Rwandans? The task force itself had recently recommended to
the special envoys that additional pressure be put on the overseas
leadership of RUD and FDLR. If the GDRC was claiming that these
figures were essential interlocutors, would it see any move to
pressure or even arrest them as counterproductive?

8. (SBU) Mamba said that his government had been working with John
Muhindo since 2002 to get members of the FDLR to return home. His
status at home was less a concern of theirs since, according to
Mamba, he had good access to Rwandan armed groups and had delivered
solid results. Why suddenly cut him off? This would cut off the
GDRC from several good contacts within the FDLR and RUD. Then
again, the GDRC doesn't want to be seen as hiding a potential
genocidaire, so Rwanda should produce evidence and the DRC would
fulfill its obligations as per the Nairobi Communique. In any case,
Rwanda's complaining about Muhindo was just another attempt to block
the whole process. With regards to Kanyamubwa, he had been
essential in delivering the combatants at Kasiki. Still, if the
international community is really serious about arresting leaders
overseas then they should do so instead of complaining when the GDRC
talks to them. Mamba admitted that the arrest of such figures would
have a tremendous impact on the RUD and FDLR members in the bush.

FARDC - FDLR Collaboration

9. (SBU) Poloff then gingerly raised the issue of alleged FARDC
collaboration with the FDLR, stating that he had never personally
seen proof of this, but that it seemed to be widely accepted as a
given fact. Collocation in particular was assumed, but now there
were allegations of recent joint operations being carried out
against the CNDP. (Note: The CNDP has claimed joint FARDC-FDLR
operations since early September. MONUC does not acknowledge that
it has strong evidence of this, but does claim to have seen
collocation of FDLR and PARECO forces. End note.)

10. (SBU) Mamba said one should not compare 2004 with the present.
Since December 2007 all links to the FDLR had been severed. For
example, since the signing of the Nairobi Communique, 15 FDLR
barriers had been removed. The FARDC had pushed the FDLR out of
towns they previously possessed including Nyabiondo, where FDLR
wives were now paying government taxes rather than their husbands
demanding their own. Joint verification missions had been
undertaken with the Rwandans that did not reveal evidence of
collaboration. Even captured FDLR soldiers questioned during a
previous JMG visit, Mamba asserted, claimed there were no links to
the FARDC.

11. (SBU) Mamba went on to say that collaboration had indeed been
an issue earlier on, but there were strict guidelines against this
now. Also, the word collocation itself was often misused. For
example, stating that FDLR and the FARDC both operated in Mwenga
could lead one to believe they were both located in the same town
when in fact Mwenga was also a territory and the units could be 10
kilometers apart. As for the CNDP's claims of joint operations,
Nkunda's men just weren't used to the FARDC not running away when
attacked. Naturally, they would claim that any unit that stands its
ground must be FDLR (or - he added - Zimbabwean) when in fact the
FARDC had replaced unreliable units with more loyal ones -- meaning
units that for example had no former Congolese Rally for Democracy
(RCD) members in them. Indeed, he said, the FARDC was much better
prepared and equipped this time and could have easily continued its
push into CNDP territory if MONUC hadn't asked them to respect zones
of separation.

Rwanda does not attend October 3 JWG meeting

12. (SBU) Finally, Poloff asked Col Mamba's opinion on the
reasoning behind Rwanda's decision to skip the October 3 JMG
meeting. (Note: The previous day CNDP leader Laurent Nkunda had
released a statement claiming his movement was now a liberation
movement for all of the DRC and that all Congolese should stand up
to fight their treacherous government. End note.) Mamba's first
reaction (and a very passionate one) was that the timing of Rwanda's
refusal to attend the JMG and Nkunda's statement were proof that
Rwanda was aware that CNDP was planning something.

13. (SBU) He continued that Rwanda was playing games with the JMG
and that "we were much too accommodating to their mood swings and

KINSHASA 00000845 003 OF 003

indecisiveness." He continued: "How many times had Rwanda changed
the task force minutes - sometimes arguing for hours over a single
word? They felt they could tell the task force where to hold its
meetings (Gisenyi) and were even willing to cancel a meeting by not
showing up. Meanwhile, even while heavy fighting was going on
against the CNDP in Sake during the second week in September, the
Congolese sent a delegation to the task force. Now they were being
asked to go to Rwanda where there was no MONUC to protect them like
for the Rwandans in the DRC." Mamba finished by saying that
Rwanda's decision not to attend the task force was disappointing.
He asked the United States to help his country figure out what was
going on.

14. Comment: (SBU) The GDRC will certainly use the Rwandan's
decision to not attend the October 3 task force meeting as an
indication that Rwanda is not serious about respecting the Nairobi
Communique. In a phone conversation with poloff, Jean Damascene
Rudasingwa, the deputy head of Rwanda's delegation to the task
force, gave assurances that insecurity in Goma was the only reason
why they would not attend. He even noted Nkunda's statement of
October 2 as a sign that things could get "explosive" in Goma. In
the same conversation, however, he repeatedly referred to the issue
of the FARDC's collaboration with the FDLR, to the extent that he
seemed to be implying the task force meetings were hardly worth the
effort as long as this issue was not adequately addressed. He did
not say so explicitly, however.

15. (SBU) Comment continued: In closing the meeting with Colonel
Mamba, poloff made three statements: (1) For the sake of the people
in Kasiki Camp, but also for the sake of finally taking the issue
off the task force meeting agenda, the GDRC should use whatever
influence it has over RUD's political leadership to encourage them
to allow the camp residents to repatriate to Rwanda; (2) though the
GDRC claims there to be no collaboration between its armed forces
and the FDLR, the international community remains concerned over
such collaboration; therefore the FARDC leadership should
acknowledge and investigate any and all allegations of FARDC/FDLR
collaboration; and (3) The discussions at task force meetings had
become quite cordial but could easily be poisoned by dwelling on
issues that were outside the purview of the task force to resolve.
Accordingly, it would be helpful at the next task force gathering if
the DRC delegation did not dwell on Rwanda's decision to skip the
October 3 meeting. End comment.


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