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Cablegate: Monuc Bukavu Briefs Ambassador On South Kivu

VZCZCXRO6231
PP RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1119 1930815
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 120815Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4363
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001119

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO MOPS CG
SUBJECT: MONUC BUKAVU BRIEFS AMBASSADOR ON SOUTH KIVU
MILITARY SITUATION

1. (SBU) Summary: During a June 16 visit to South Kivu,
MONUC Bukavu Acting Head of Office Cheikh Bangoura and South
Kivu Brigade Commander General Ahmed Maqsood briefed the
Ambassador on the status of FDLR militia and the tactics used
-- joint FARDC-MONUC operations and the DDRRR program -- to
deal with them. End summary.

FDLR: Progress but still a problem
----------------------------------
2. (SBU) According to Bangoura, an estimated 2,500-3,000
FLDR remain in South Kivu, grouped in five battalions of
400-500 men. While not considered a threat to the electoral
process, the militia have been responsible for increased
human rights violations in recent months in Walungu, Kabare,
Mwenga, Shabunda, and Kalehe. MONUC has no evidence of the
FDLR recruiting child soldiers in recent months, though the
main victims of FDLR attacks remain children. The FDLR is
still abducting Congolese for forced labor and sexual slavery.

Tactic 1: Military action
--------------------------
3. (SBU) The three Pakistani battalions in South Kivu have
a total of 2,706 troops. They are "stretched to their
limits," according to General Maqsood. Because of this,
their response time to FDLR threats across South Kivu
province is delayed. They are addressing the problem by
using Mobile Operating Bases in which the troops live with
the people - they hire local guides, do confidence building
and elections sensitization, support youth village vigilance
committees, and foil abduction attempts. MONUC South Kivu
Brigade has also provided logistical support to recent FARDC
operations in Kabare, Walunga, Mwenga, and Bunyakiri. (Note:
Since December 2005, FARDC-led campaigns have destroyed 20
FDLR strongholds and camps. End note.) The Pakistanis
regularly conduct capacity building and training programs for
FARDC officers on basic human rights principles. Over 200
officers and 2,500 regular troops have so far received
training, including the Third Integrated Brigade and the
FARDC Navy. MONUC South Kivu Brigade also supported pay
distribution to the Third Brigade. One growing concern is
that, while the integration of the FARDC troops is proceeding
steadily, most of the troops are opting to demobilize,
leaving a security vacuum in the province.

Tactic 2: DDRRR
----------------
4. (SBU) Bangoura told the Ambassador that, since the
program's inception, 8,400 FLDR and 4,600 of their dependents
have gone through DDRRR and returned to Rwanda. MONUC
maintains regular contact with the FDLR and actively promotes
the DDRRR program through sensitization campaigns,
information gathering on the FDLR, repatriation of
ex-combatants, follow-up on returnees, and the Joint
Verification Team with Rwanda. According to MONUC, those
implicated in the genocide don't want to return to Rwanda and
are preventing the majority of FDLR, most of whom are younger
than 25, from leaving DRC through the use of physical
threats, attacks, and murder. Bangoura sees recent, more
active FDLR resistance as a sign that MONUC and FARDC are
making life "more difficult for them." He says the FDLR are
cornered due to domination missions, and their lives are
miserable. They are "fed up," but their bosses won't let
them go. MONUC Bukavu contends that they need a bigger,
positive campaign to attract more FDLR to the DDRRR program.
According to Bangoura, DDRRR messages cannot just be
transmitted by radio -- direct contact with soldiers must be
made to explain what is being offered. One suggestion is
that high profile returnees such as Colonel Amani come back
to talk to their former comrades and explain that they have
been well-treated and integrated into the Rwandan army. The
risk, however, is that the returnees would be killed by those
unwilling to repatriate, so a system of protection would be
needed.


Comment
-------
5. (SBU) The DDRRR program continues to face challenges in
getting the word out to, and having that word believed by,
the average FDLR soldier who wants to demobilize and return
to Rwanda. Innovative ideas, such as taking the DDRRR
message directly to soldiers, though dangerous, may be the
best solution to a continuing problem. End comment.
MEECE

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