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Cablegate: Demobilization and Reintegration of Ex-Combatants

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLGB #1013/01 2910605
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 180605Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIGALI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3365
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS KIGALI 001013

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/C

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MCAP PREL MONUC CG RW
SUBJECT: DEMOBILIZATION AND REINTEGRATION OF EX-COMBATANTS
IN RWANDA

REF: KIGALI 984

1. (U) A Joint Partner Implementation Support Mission of the
partners of the Multi-Country Demobilization and
Reintegration Program (MDRP) for the Great Lakes regions held
a three day conference in Kigali 4-6 October to review and
assess the progress made in implementing the program and key
complimentary activities in Rwanda. Efforts to reintegrate
ex-combatants in Rwanda are generally proceeding well, the
relatively low number of 575 returnees in 2006 is attributed
to the difficulty the prospective returnees have separating
from their armed group leadership not the willingness and
capability of Rwanda to accept them. End summary.

2. (U) Background. The MDRP funds disarmament,
demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programs in seven
central African countries including Rwanda and the DRC. In
Rwanda, the focus of its effort is the Rwanda Demobilization
and Reintegration Program (RDRC). The USG does not directly
fund the MDRP. End background.

3. (U) The principle objectives of the mission were to assess
progress in the implementation of demobilization and
reintegration activities under the RDRC; asses the
effectiveness of the RDRC in facilitating the demobilization
and reintegration of members of armed groups of Rwandan
origin from the DRC; review the MDRP's assistance for special
target groups (women, children and disabled); and provide
guidance for the ongoing mid-term review of the MDRP and the
upcoming review of the MDRP. The conference also included
briefs by German Development Cooperation GTZ and an
independent analyst's presentation on the Democratic Forces
of the Liberation of Rwanda (reftel).

4. (U) Since 1997, the RDRC has been the lead GOR agency in
the efforts to demobilize an estimated 45,000 ex-combatants
from the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF), an estimated 22,500
members of Armed Groups (AGs) and support their transition
into civilian society. (Note. The initial estimate of
22,500 has since been changed to an estimated 8,000 to
10,000. End note.) The RDCR works with other GOR
ministries- Immigration, Health, Defense and Local
Government- in a joint committee to oversee and support the
integration of ex-combatants and dependents into society.
According to the RDRC, the total program numbers:

-- Ex-RDF 1997-2005: 18,805 2006: 1,234
-- Ex-FAR 1997-2005: 12,290 2006: 679
-- Ex-AGs 1997-2005: 5,087 2006: 439
-- Ex-AGs (Children) 1997-2005: 570 2006: 30
(Note. The Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) statistics reflect
soldiers of the former government who did not flee to DRC and
join the FDLR. End note.)

5. (U) The RDRC's communication plan, with the assistance of
MDRP consultants, has several broad objectives. In order to
communicate the demobilization/reintegration message to
combatants, dependents, and families, the plan calls for the
use of a combination of radio, print (newsletters and
leaflets), theater and video. Radio is the primary means to
reach the target audience, and it was noted that Voice of
America and BBC were more trusted by the target audience than
the UN,s Radio Okapi or Radio Rwanda. Additional goals of
the communication plan are to influence word of mouth from
dependents, civil society, the international community and
the government and communicate demobilization and
reintegration successes to stakeholders such as donors, UN
agencies, NGOs and the public.

6. (U) The German Development Cooperation GTZ has a
vocational training program that prepares ex-combatants for
reintegration. Since 2004, the project has trained 655
ex-combatants in general business and management skills and
290 in vocational skills such as house construction and
plumbing. Program coordinator Wolfgang Ahrens reported that
the program was very successful noting, however, that it was
relatively expensive and did not benefit the majority of the
ex-combatants.

7. (SBU) Comment. The conference reinforced the fact that
the GOR, with significant assistance from the MDRP, continues
to run a relatively efficient demobilization and
reintegration program. Some familiar accusations were made
regarding MONUC's ineffectiveness at accepting and processing
combatants willing to return to Rwanda and its failure to
militarily pursue the FDLR effectively. As usual, the
general consensus among the GOR officials, UN and Bank

representatives and the diplomats in attendance was that the
key to the process is separating the vast majority of those
FDLR combatants who are willing to return to Rwanda from the
small, hard core leadership. Said leadership, while possibly
recognizing that its political objectives in Rwanda are
unobtainable, has no motivation to return and so will
continue to exercise tight control over the general FDLR
ranks. End comment.
THURSTON

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