Cablegate: Sporadic Fighting Between Mai-Mai and Rcd-G

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Summary. Mai-Mai elements from the 8th military region
have engaged in sporadic skirmishes with ex-Congolese
National Army (ANC) soldiers from the same military region in
Masisi, N. Kivu beginning the week of October 24th and
continuing through November 7th. Although civilians have been
displaced as a result of the violence there is no indication
of large scale, sustained fighting. UN sources have expressed
greater concern over the deteriorating security situation in
Goma, including increased shootings at night, killings, and
harassment of civilians by military elements. End Summary.

Sporadic Fighting Between Mai-Mai and RCD-G Elements
--------------------------------------------- -------

2. (U) MONUC and OCHA sources have reported sporadic fighting
between Mai Mai elements led by commander Christophe of the
8th military region's 4th brigade and ex-ANC (former armed
wing of the Congolese Rally for Democracy-Goma or RCD-G)
soldiers from the 8th military region's 11th brigade headed
by Colonel Bonne-Annee in the North Kivu localities of
Bwerema, Bishange, and Bitonga (Masisi territory) beginning
the week of October 24th and continuing periodically until
November 5th. According to both sources, the confrontations
are neither serious nor sustained.

3. (U) It is unclear at this point what has prompted the
recent fighting, but MONUC sources think it may be a struggle
for mineral resources in the area, along with ongoing
animosity and distrust between yet to be integrated Mai-Mai
and RCD-G military elements. In two related incidents, former
RCD-G military investigators sent to the area were detained
for 24 hours by Mai-Mai soldiers. In retaliation, 8th
military region officials in Goma later arrested two Mai Mai
leaders over the incident.

4. (U) OCHA has reported the displacement of about 3000
people in the area near Minova as a result of these conflict.
As of November 8th, there is no indication of any further
confrontations between these groups or of any further
displacement of civilians.

5. (U) According to OCHA sources Mai Mai elements have also
fought former ex-ANC soldiers in other parts of N.Kivu,
including a minor skirmish November 3rd at the mining site of
Ngora, 12 kms from Walikale, presumably for control of local
mineral resources. The situation in the area, however, is now
reportedly calm and many of those civilians initially
displaced have already returned to their homes.

MONUC More Concerned About Increasing Violence in Goma
--------------------------------------------- ---------

6. (U) MONUC sources have expressed greater concern over
increased violence and lack of discipline by armed elements
around the Goma area. This mounting insecurity has led to by
increased shootings at night and a rise in acts of banditry,
murders, and financial harassment of civilians; a possible
indication that soldiers may not be receiving their regular
salaries. Although there is no evidence at this point that
any particular communities are being targeted, MONUC sources
fear that incidents involving former RCD-G soldiers and Bashi
civilians could lead to inter-community fighting.


7. (U) Sporadic low-level skirmishes between un-integrated
Mai-Mai and RCD-G soldiers from the 8th military region
competing for control of local mineral resources in North
Kivu is likely to continue. More problematic, however, is the
deterioration of the security situation in Goma and the
possibility of inter-community fighting if some of the local
ethnic groups feel that they are being targeted by RCD-G
soldiers. It remains to be seen whether N. Kivu Governor
Eugene Serufuli will take any steps to improve the security
situation, or whether he will seek to manipulate events for
his own ends; including the possible dismissal of 8th
military region commander Obedi Rwabasira.

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