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Cablegate: North Kivu Update (9/18/07 15:00 Gmt): Situation

VZCZCXRO0826
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1120 2611735
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181735Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6907
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001120

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KPKO ASEC MOPS CG
SUBJECT: NORTH KIVU UPDATE (9/18/07 15:00 GMT): SITUATION
UNCHANGED

REF: KINSHASA 1098

1. (U) The security situation in North Kivu remains unchanged
as of September 18. Government troops and forces loyal to
renegade General Laurent Nkunda continue to consolidate their
positions throughout the province. There have been no
reports of significant fighting since combat ceased near Sake
some 20 miles west of Goma September 7. MONUC peacekeepers
are still conducting patrols in Rutshuru and Masisi
territories, as well as around Goma.

2. (U) The GDRC has publicly declared it has no intention of
negotiating with Nkunda to end the current crisis. Speaking
to members of the diplomatic corps in Kinshasa September 15,
Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Alan Lubamba called Nkunda
a "war criminal," and identified as such by the UN. Lubamba
said the GDRC rejected the UNSC's recent appeal to begin a
dialogue with Nkunda, but he assured the assembled diplomats
the government wanted to work with the international
community to find a "lasting solution" to the problems of the
Great Lakes region.

3. (U) Four journalists were detained and questioned by the
Congolese military (FARDC) outside Goma September 14
reportedly for meeting with Nkunda at his base in Masisi. One
American from the Christian Science Monitor, two Congolese
working for Voice of America, and one Rwandan correspondent
from the newspaper New Times were stopped by FARDC troops
outside Sake. Press reports claimed soldiers confiscated the
journalists' equipment and notes and escorted them to
military intelligence headquarters in Goma. The group was
questioned and subsequently released, although without their
belongings. FARDC deputy regional military commander Col.
Delphin Kahimbi told MONUC's Radio Okapi there was no
official interrogation of the journalists, and that they were
detained simply to determine what they were going to report
about Nkunda. Kahimbi justified his actions by citing the
June Tripartite Plus agreement calling on regional
governments to deny media access to negative forces.

4. (SBU) Radio Okapi reported on September 17 that about 40
Nkunda loyalists had turned themselves over to the FARDC. In
fact, MONUC military officials in Goma said they could not
verify the exact number of defections, adding that Okapi's
report was "a bit high." The same officials noted, however,
that "several" former Nkunda soldiers had surrendered to
pro-government forces on September 14-15 in the Masisi area.

5. (U) A government delegation, headed by the Ministers of
Social Affairs, Humanitarian Affairs, and Press and
Information, visited Goma and Sake September 16. Speaking to
civilians in Sake, Information Minister Tshilombo Send said
the visit aimed to gain first-hand information that would be
directly conveyed to President Kabila. Tshilombo said Kabila
is fully aware of the suffering people are enduring. He
stated Kabila believes military integration is the only
solution to the problem of Nkunda and is prepared to continue
military operations to force the dissident general's forces
to disarm and integrate.

6. (U) Post will continue to monitor the situation in North
Kivu. This is our last daily reoprt; future reports will be
issued as developments warrant.
BROCK

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