Cablegate: Monuc Successfully Disarms Ituri Militias

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. On February 23 a contingent of 350 Nepalese
peacekeepers encircled a camp of armed militia who were
threatening civilians in Ari Wara, Northern Ituri. The
peacekeepers convinced the militia members to peacefully give
up approximately 250 weapons and join Ituri's demobilization
and community reintegration program. Initial satisfaction
with this successful operation has been tempered by the
subsequent killing of nine peacekeepers in another part of
Ituri (reftels.) End Summary.

2. (U) A contingent of 350 Nepalese peacekeepers deployed
February 23 to Ari Wara in Northern Ituri to confront a group
of well-armed militia from the Popular Armed Forces of the
Congo (FAPC) who were threatening civilians. The local
population had been upset with FAPC over their role in the
killing of a local businessman on the weekend of February 20,
and decided to take arms by force from the local police to
confront the militia themselves. (Note: The local police are
weak and afraid to confront militias. End Note.) MONUC
sources said peacekeepers intervened to prevent a
confrontation in which the militias would likely have killed
many civilians.

3. (U) The MONUC source said the peacekeepers encircled
FAPC's main militia camp in Ari Wara and demanded that the
militia members disarm. After negotiating with them for some
time, they convinced the entire 111 militia members in the
camp to lay down their arms and join Ituri's disarmament
program. Peacekeepers collected over 250 weapons of different
sorts from the militia camp. MONUC also agreed to transport
the militia members' families with them (350 in total) to the
Mahagi Transit Center. The three individuals alleged to have
killed the businessman, however, remain at large.

4. (U) MONUC officials are rightly pleased with this
effective use of their Chapter VII mandate, although these
positive feelings have been tempered by the subsequent
killing of nine peacekeepers in another part of Ituri. FAPC
militias are, after all, one of the best armed and trained
groups in Ituri. Peacekeepers not only defused a dangerous
situation in which militias were threatening civilians, they
also disarmed the militias without using force and persuaded
them to join a demobilization program along with their
families. The success of this operation in the troubled
district of Ituri is encouraging and it points to a more
effective strategy on the part of MONUC involving not only
the threat of force, but a willingness to negotiate and
persuade militias to disarm and demobilize peacefully.

5. (U) Bujumbura minimized considered.

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