Cablegate: Angolan Expulsion: Total of Congolese Arrivals


DE RUEHKI #0884/01 2071129
R 261129Z JUL 07




E.O. 12958: N/A
RISES FROM 16,000 TO 26,500



1. (SBU) Summary: Initial news reports of Congolese expelled
from Maludi, in Lunda Norte, Angola, were exaggerated, but
the numbers continue to grow. Assessment teams confirmed in
mid July that 13,000 displaced Congolese arrived in West
Kasai and some 3,000 others in Katanga since July 3. They
said the 16,000 displaced Congolese were mistreated by
Angolan authorities and were in need of humanitarian aid.
Latest MONUC figures indicate the number of displaced has now
risen to roughly 26,500, including an additional 10,000
arriving in Katanga and 1,000 in Western Kasai who arrived
the previous week. Some humanitarian agencies expect an
additional 30-40,000 displaced Congolese to arrive in Western
Kasai alone by the end of the year. End Summary.


2. (SBU) MONUC and NGO reports have confirmed that a new wave
of expulsions of Congolese living in Angola began on July 3
when Angolan military authorities started chasing out illegal
miners from Maludi, a diamond mining town 80 km from Dundo,
the capital city of Lunda Norte. News sources including
Reuters, Radio Okapi and the BBC reported in the second week
of July that 13,000 had arrived in Western Kasai and between
13-15,000 had arrived in Katanga since July 3. However, MONUC
and NGO assessment teams reported in mid July that the
Katanga figures had been exaggerated and that a total of
16,000 Congolese had arrived in both provinces.

3. (SBU) An internal MONUC report of July 12 stated that
15,000 Congolese had been ordered to leave Maludi. It stated
that 3,000 were forcibly moved by truck to Katanga, 2,000 had
fled across the border on foot, and 10,000 were hidden in
surrounding forest areas in Angola. Similarly, a July 14
Joint Commission including the World Food Program, UNICEF,
and local authorities reported some 3,400 displaced in
Katanga: 3,000 in Kapanga and some 400 at Kasamayi near the
Angolan border. The report claimed there were roughly 500
women and 60 children amongst the displaced.

4. (SBU) CARITAS is present in Western Kasai and estimated in
a July 12 report that over 12,000 of those expelled were in
the province, mainly in the villages of Kawakala, Kabungu and
Kamako in Tshikapa. Its assessment report said roughly 4,000
of these were women and children. That same day DRC Minister
of Humanitarian Affairs Jean-Claude Muyambo told us he agreed
with the number of displaced, but estimated two thirds of
them were women and children. Acting Western Kasai Governor
Hubert Mbingho however provided us a lower estimate of 800
women and children.

5. (U) During the second week of July CARITAS DRC Charg de
Liaison Christina Kaiser told us that while initial
displacement reports were exaggerated, thousands more were
waiting on the Angolan side of border to cross into the DRC.
MONUC announced July 25 that 10,000 additional Congolese
arrived in Katanga and 1,000 in Western Kasai during the
previous week. OCHA official Christophe Illemassene
speculated that up to 30-40,000 additional Congolese could
arrive in Western Kasai alone by the end of the year based on
a July 20-21 assessment by a joint team including UN agencies
and CARITAS. Another OCHA official involved with the
assessment stated that a minimum of 9,000 Congolese were
still waiting to cross into the DRC.


6. (SBU) According to the July 12 MONUC report, Kapanga
administrator Zakari Ikombe was coordinating with Lubumbashi
civil authorities and the Angolan Embassy to guarantee safe
passage to the DRC for Congolese hiding in the Angolan
forest. The report said the Angolan Security Post commander
in Mwakamika had agreed to grant safe passage for women and
children, but stipulated that men must do three days of
manual labor for the Angolan army before leaving.

7. (U) Kaiser told us rumors were circulating that the
displaced persons were moving towards Tshikapa in Western
Kasai, since many of them originate from that province.
Kaiser also said some were planning to return to Angola while
others wanted to return to homes in the DRC. Local

authorities said their priority was to ensure expelled
Congolese return home as quickly as possible. When we met
with UNHCR Chief of Mission Bob Rodrigus, he said some of the
displaced Congolese may have been expelled before and
returned to Angola because they had no where else to go.


8. (SBU) The Joint Commission report claimed the Congolese
had suffered imprisonment, forced labor, confiscation of
goods and body cavity searches. It said they were generally
traumatized and in weak physical state upon arrival in the
DRC. The report also said three people died in an unspecified
prison and one woman had a miscarriage during the expulsion.

9. (SBU) Congolese authorities have told us they do not have
the supplies necessary to handle the situation in Western
Kasai. Kaiser said CARITAS only has adequate medicine and
non-food supplies for 7,000 persons. There is no MONUC
presence in the province. In Katanga, the Joint Commission
report stated that a local committee had been formed to take
care of Congolese without host families. The report said
local authorities and religious groups were providing money
and that the NGO PAREC had opened soup kitchens using
volunteers. Additionally, Minister Muyambo announced on a
visit to Katanga that the DRC government would provide 15
tons of clothes, medicine and food.


10. (SBU) The Joint Commission report stated that the reasons
for the expulsion were not clear. It reported that its
members were told the Angolan government had recently sold
the mining zone to an American company and wanted to clear it
out. The report also said they were told by displaced
Congolese that they supported UNITA, and were therefore
targeted by the MPLA because of upcoming elections.

11. (U) According to Embassy Luanda, Lunda Norte officials
announced in January that they planned on expelling illegal
miners in Maludi at an unspecified time (ref C). GDRC
officials were not prepared however, and Minister Muyambo and
Governor Mbingho told us they had not been informed about the
expulsion in advance. According to Kinshasa news reports,
Angolan Ambassador Joao Baptista Mawete told a DRC delegation
on July 10 the expulsions followed bilateral agreements on
illegal miners between the GDRC and the GOA three years ago.
Local articles also said Minister of Interior Denis Kalume
called on the GOA in the meeting to treat the Congolese with
dignity and to give the GDRC necessary time to prepare for
their return. The press later reported that Mawete emphasized
in a July 19 meeting with Prime Minister Antoine Gizenga that
all illegal miners were being expelled from the region, and
that Congolese were not targeted.

12. (SBU) CARITAS, MONUC and other embassy contacts told us
there was nothing unexpected about the expulsions, as they
have been going on for three years now and have reoccurred in
recent months. Rodrigus said the GOA will not stop the
expulsions in the future because it wants control of their
diamond resources along the border with DRC. He expressed
concern to us that the southern border with Angola could
become a hot spot as a result of these problems.


13. (U) Comment: Initial estimates of displaced Congolese
were exaggerated, but it is clear more Congolese will be
arriving from Angola in upcoming months. Humanitarian
emergencies and population displacements along the border are
likely to continue unless displaced Congolese are able to
support themselves economically in their homes in the DRC. It
is true that Congolese expulsions from Angola have occurred
periodically for years, usually without much or any prior
notice, often creating humanitarian problems, and
occasionally provoking some media and other protests in the
DRC. This episode occurs in the midst of continuing political
outrage being expressed by parliamentary opposition members
and others in Kinshasa over the recent DRC/Angola border
dispute, magnifying the issue. President Kabila is expected
to travel to Luanda in coming days for a bilateral visit, and
both governments have a vested interest to limit the damage
to bilateral relations associated with the issue.


© Scoop Media

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