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Cablegate: Eastern Drc Notes - December 24

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OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1154/01 3590944
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O 240944Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8954
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 001154

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS PHUM PREF KPKO CG
SUBJECT: EASTERN DRC NOTES - DECEMBER 24

1. (U) The items contained in this report consist principally of
spot information from various sources. This report is not
exhaustive, nor can all the information contained therein be
confirmed at this time.

Note: Due to seasonal holidays, our next report will appear on
December 29. End note.

Security Situation
------------------

2. (SBU) Agence France Press reported that the CNDP has complained
that FARDC troops have moved within 100 meters of CNDP positions on
the Goma-Rutshuru road, just north of Goma. MONUC acknowledged the
report, but its military briefers are unaware of any significant
changes in FARDC positions. The UNDSS December 24 briefing noted
that the CNDP was apparently building up its forces in the area,
near Kibati. (Note and Comment: At the conclusion of the most
recent talks in Nairobi, the CNDP refused to sign a document
committing to prolonging the cease-fire. The CNDP based its refusal
on claims that the FARDC was moving into neutral zones from which
the CNDP had withdrawn. Neither post nor the Goma Office have seen
any indication from MONUC, which monitors changes in positions
closely, that this is the case. End note and comment.)

3. (SBU) FDLR troops allegedly looted Kiribizi, a small town north
of Nyanzale in Rutshuru territory. The FDLR inexplicably fled,
leaving weapons behind, which MONUC confiscated.

4. (SBU) MONUC has received an increasing number of reports of CNDP
clashes with PARECO/Mai Mai forces on the northern and western edges
of CNDP-held territory over the past three days. Mai Mai militias
south of Kanyabayonga have acquired more weapons and continue to
maintain pressure on the CNDP in this area. On the other hand,
according to MONUC, FDLR forces seldom engage the CNDP directly and
often withdraw when confronted rather than fight.

5. (SBU) Mai Mai forces reportedly shot at a South African MONUC
patrol over the weekend near Pinga, northwest of Masisi, with no
casualties. In response, MONUC plans to bolster its presence and
visibility in the area to demonstrate that the Mai Mai cannot impede
MONUC access to areas. MONUC also plans to deploy helicopter
gunship patrols in the vicinity of Kanyabayonga.

6. (SBU) OCHA has strongly advised NGO's to avoid the Sake-Masisi
road, stressing that the road, which is under repairs, is dangerous
from the point of road accidents, as well as ambushes from armed
bandits. MONUC and the national police are increasing patrols in
Goma during the holiday period.

LRA - Operation Lightening Thunder
----------------------------------

7. (SBU) MONUC noted that the UPDF had finished its first phase of
operations, consisting primarily of air attacks, against the LRA.
There are some unverified reports that Kony was still in Garamba
Park as recently as December 20, raising some doubts as to whether
he has fled to the CAR.

8. (U) At a December 23 press conference in Paris, DRC Foreign
Minster Alexis Thambwe Mwamba said that joint operations against the
LRA were proceeding well. He added that the GDRC expected to be
"totally rid of Mr. Kony's militia within days."

MONUC on the New Mandate
------------------------

9. (SBU) MONUC Forward Force Chief of Staff Lieutenant Colonel
James Cunliffe noted that the new UNSCR stresses MONUC's mandate to
protect civilians, as well as to act against the FARDC, if its
troops threaten civilians. Privately, Cunliffe confided to Goma
Poloff his frustration with the protection mandate, maintaining that
"protection" implied a range of social services beyond the
capabilities of a military mission. Cunliffe said he was seeking
more specific guidance from MONUC Kinshasa on how to implement the
new mandate. He opined that enhancing protection of IDP camps
appeared to be a logical place to start. However, he noted that the
vast majority of IDP's in CNDP territory did not live in camps,
which the CNDP had dismantled in an attempt to coax the population
back to their homes. (Comment: Elevating "protection" is not an
impossible task, as Cunliffe insinuates. MONUC could indeed do
more, e.g., improving community outreach and focusing on enhancing
perimeter security around camps. At the same time, MONUC forces on
the ground will need more clear definition of what "protection"
entails. End Comment.)

KINSHASA 00001154 002 OF 002

10. (U) The GDRC Communications Minister and Spokesman, Lambert
Mende praised the new MONUC mandate, including the possibility that
MONUC would engage FARDC elements guilty of exactions against the
civilian population. Mende added that "the problem of
out-of-control FARDC elements was a concern at the highest levels of
the GDRC."

Humanitarian Situation
----------------------

11. (SBU) MONUC is working with OCHA to identify and map IDP camps
throughout North Kivu. According to OCHA, there are only 10
"official" IDP camps in the province, mostly around Goma and Masisi.
There are dozens of other unofficial camps, which have sprung up as
civilians fled their homes for safer areas. OHCA remains hesitant
to fully recognize these camps, since many people return home when
the situation improves.

12. (SBU) According to UNDSS, the CNDP has sent OHCA a letter
requesting a list of legitimate humanitarian organizations operating
in CNDP-controlled territory. OCHA intends to respond that
responsibility for NGO registration resides with the appropriate
GDRC ministries. OCHA will not facilitate a parallel registration
by the CNDP.

GARVELINK

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