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Cablegate: Dr Congo Quarterly Refugee Report, October 2008

VZCZCXRO3803
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0971/01 3101555
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051555Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8724
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000971

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PGOV PREL KPKO CG CF TZ UG ZA UN
SUBJECT: DR CONGO QUARTERLY REFUGEE REPORT, OCTOBER 2008

REF: STATE 116613

1. (SBU) Summary: Recent fighting between the CNDP and FARDC has
displaced an estimated 250,000 IDP's since the end of August.
Approximately 10,000 Congolese have crossed into Uganda over the
last several weeks. UNHCR staff has just resumed operations in and
around Goma. LRA activity has recently displaced an estimated
25,000 people in Dungu Territory. UNHCR reports the repatriation of
over 27,000 Congolese as of September 2008. It also reports a net
reduction of over 22,000 Congolese refugees in neighboring countries
as repatriations have increased over the last quarter. There has
been a net outflow of over 18,000 refugees from neighboring
countries that were living in the DRC and that have returned home
over the last quarter. Repatriation of Congolese from Tanzania,
Zambia, and Republic of Congo continue at a steady pace. Complete
repatriation of refugees and the return home of IDP's will not occur
until the security situation in Eastern DRC is resolved. End
Summary.

250,000 New IDP's in North Kivu
-------------------------------

2. (U) The outbreak of new fighting between the CNDP and the FARDC
in North Kivu has displaced an estimated 250,000 IDP's since August
28, according to the UN's Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). A UNHCR external relations officer
told post October 31 that the current IDP situation was very fluid,
but that the current estimate was over 1 million IDP's in North Kivu
Province. UNHCR confirmed that there were likely over 1.5 million
IDP's currently in the DRC.

3. (U) UNHCR officer confirmed that a few thousand Congolese have
recently crossed over the border into Uganda, through Busanza, to
escape the recent fighting. According to UNHCR, there are now over
10,000 new Congolese refugees in Uganda, 2,000 of which UNHCR has
helped to relocate to an IDP camp in Nakivale.

4. (SBU) UNHCR Country Representative Eusebe Hounsokou told us
November 3, that UNHCR has reopened its Goma office and has resumed
operations in and around Goma. During the increased fighting around
Goma the week of October 27, UNHCR staff was grouped at the MONUC HQ
compound and at WFP. A UNHCR field team traveled to Rutshuru
November 3 to investigate reports that the CNDP forced IDP's to go
home by burning the Dumez, Kasasa, and Nyongera IDP camps. UNHCR
confirmed November 4 that CNDP forces indeed emptied and burned the
camps.

Refugees Displaced by the LRA
-----------------------------

5. (SBU) The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) activities in Dungu
Territory, Orientale Province have continued to terrorize local
citizens and have forced thousands to flee their homes. Radio Okapi
reports that recent LRA and FARDC clashes on November 1 left one
civilian dead and a dozen women and children kidnapped by the LRA in
the city of Dungu, spreading mass panic and evacuation of the city.
UNHCR Representative told us November 4 that the UNHCR is no longer
operating in the territory due to security concerns. On October 19,
the LRA attacked the village of Bangadi leaving six people dead.
MONUC reported on October 10 that the LRA had killed more than 50
people and kidnapped more than 150 children over the last month. It
estimated that there are currently over 25,000 IDP's in the
territory, with at least 10,000 temporarily located in the village
of Ngilima. UNHCR estimated that as of October 7, 5,000 Congolese
refugees fleeing the LRA had arrived in Yambio, Southern Sudan.
However, Hounsokou said that the original estimate has undoubtedly
grown following the recent attacks on the city of Dungu.

Return of Congolese Refugees to the DRC
---------------------------------------

6. (U) As of September 30, UNHCR had assisted 10,717 Congolese
refugees to return to Equateur province, 9,435 to South Kivu
province, 6,773 to Katanga province, and 299 to other areas in the
DRC during the year. There are no estimates available of
non-assisted returns during the year.

DRC Refugees in Other African Countries
---------------------------------------

7. (U) UNHCR estimates 316,647 Congolese refugees are currently in
other African countries. Over the last quarter, this estimate has
shrunk by around 22,000 as more Congolese have returned home from
neighboring countries. Tanzania still has the largest share with an
estimated 82,921. Zambia hosts 50,128, Rwanda 54,583, Uganda
39,950, Burundi 22,135, Republic of Congo 15,441, and Central

KINSHASA 00000971 002 OF 002


African Republic 1,325. An additional 50,164 are located in other
countries.

Refugees Hosted by the DRC
--------------------------

8. (U) According to UNHCR estimates, as of September 15, the DRC
hosted 158,578 refugees from other countries, a reduction of 18,000
from the previous quarter. The largest number was from Angola with
an estimated 112,713. 24,854 originate from Rwanda, 17,602 from
Burundi, 2,511 from Sudan, 782 from Republic of Congo, 40 from
Central African Republic, 15 from Uganda, and 61 from other
countries.

Repatriation from Zambia
------------------------

9. (SBU) UNHCR reported that the repatriation of Congolese refugees
in Zambia back to Pweto, Moba, and Kalemie, in Katanga Province
continues as planned with one to two convoys arriving each week.
Through October 20, UNHCR reported that during 2008, it has
facilitated the return of 8,615 Congolese from Zambia via this
route. UNHCR Deputy Representative Victoria Akyeampong told us
November 4 that they plan to suspend activities December 15 because
of the rainy season. They plan to resume operations next spring.

Repatriation from Tanzania
--------------------------

10. (U) Repatriation of Congolese refugees from Tanzania has
recently resumed. Currently, two convoys are arriving each week to
Uvira and Baraka in South Kivu Province. During 2008, UNHCR has
repatriated 11,569 Congolese refugees in Tanzania to the DRC via
Uvira and Baraka.

Repatriation from Republic of Congo
-----------------------------------

11. (SBU) UNHCR has effectively reached its 2008 goal of
repatriating 12,000 Congolese from the Republic of Congo, with the
repatriation of 11,569 people through October 20. UNHCR reports
that virtually all of the returning refugees have chosen to return
to Equateur Province. The UNHCR Deputy Representative told us that
the repatriation phase will terminate at the end of the year as the
reinsertion and livelihoods phase begins.

12. (SBU) Comment: The recent military offensives and
counter-offensives by the CNDP and FARDC have exacerbated the
humanitarian crisis in North Kivu. Recent attacks, kidnappings, and
terror by the LRA in northeastern DRC have caused a new humanitarian
crisis by causing significant IDP and refugee flows within Dungu
Territory and to Southern Sudan. However, in other parts of the
DRC, repatriation programs from Tanzania and Zambia appear to be
proceeding. Complete repatriation of refugees and the return home
of IDP's will not occur until the security situation in the east is
finally resolved.

BROCK

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