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Cablegate: Ituri Ddr: Phase Iii Passes the Deadline

VZCZCXRO6940
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1179 2771647
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041647Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6987
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 001179

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV MOPS KPKO CG
SUBJECT: ITURI DDR: PHASE III PASSES THE DEADLINE

REF: KINSHASA 802

1. (SBU) The official deadline for the Phase III
disarmament, demobilization, and reinsertion program (DDR)
in Ituri District officially passed on September 30.
However, disarmament points and the demobilization transit
sites remain open. Nearly 35 per cent of those on the
official lists from the three militias eligible to
participate in Phase III have entered the process.
Community leaders have called for extensions of the
deadline, but the defense ministry has yet to respond. End
summary.

2. (SBU) As of the September 30 deadline for militia
members to join the final Phase III of the Ituri District
DDR process, only 1,616 of 4,665 eligible combatants (about
35 percent) have entered the DDR process. Participation
has varied widely by the three militia groups involved in
Phase III: Matthieu Ngudjolo's Movement of Congolese
Revolutionaries (MRC), Cobra Matata's Patriotic Forces for
Resistance in Ituri (FPRI), and Peter Karim's Nationalist
and Integrationist Front (FNI).

3. (SBU) While more than 90 per cent of eligible MRC
fighters have entered the process, only a small percentage
of the FNI have done so, purportedly due to internal splits
over ideology. On September 29, 79 combatants arrived in
Bunia, about 50 of whom reportedly belonging to the FPRI,
bringing its participation to about 20 per cent. The FPRI
combatants appealed for a grace period for their comrades
who were already en route to Bunia, citing poor
communications and travel distance.

4. (SBU) Some UNDP managers believe FPRI participants to
date may in fact be the result of individual initiative
rather than any directive from Matata authorizing his
troops to join the process. Differences between the GDRC
and Matata, inflated numbers and ethnic politics may also
be holding down FPRI participation. An initial agreement
promised the FPRI 46 FARDC ranking officer positions as an
inducement to join the process. The most recent agreements
in 2006 reduced this to 23, including one for Matata. DDR
officers at UNDP's sub-office in Bunia told us Defense
Minister Chikez Diemu is now insisting only 11 positions be
awarded to the FPRI. Matata has reportedly countered that
if there are only 10 commissions for his men, then the
minister himself must choose them -- relieving Matata of
any obligations to angry and disgruntled FPRI "officers."

5. (SBU) In a September 27 meeting with SRSG William
Swing, Ituri District notables requested an extension of
the September 30 deadline. Senator and former minister
John Tibassima stated, "The DDR III deadline needs to be
prolonged, in order to give a chance for the FPRI to join
this program." While it is not clear whether an extension
will be formalized, in light of previous public
pronouncements by Chikez threatening a September 30
offensive against those not in the program, a de facto
extension is in fact operating. UNDP plans to use funds
and materials already on-site to accommodate any additional
"informal" participants who arrive after the deadline.
While the late entrants may not be given full
demobilization benefits, they are being provided with
"disarmament certificates" and will be allowed into the
demobilization transit sites.

6. (SBU) Comment: It is not clear to us that a formal
extension of this program would be helpful. Not only might
it undercut the credibility of the program, but it could
also allow the process to drag on without a fixed completion
point. UNDP would like to segue directly into a "mop-up DDR
mode," and is interested in U.S. financial support to
continue to process for those who may straggle in under an
extension. While it is important to demobilize as many
ex-combatants as possible, there are other pressing DDR
needs in Congo. In the end, UNDP could decide on its own
to take on stragglers if it so chooses. End comment.
BROCK

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