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Cablegate: November 21 Goma Update

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PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1301 3300705
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 260705Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7152
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001301

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM KPKO MOPS PHUM PREF KWMN CG
SUBJECT: NOVEMBER 21 GOMA UPDATE


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

Following report was submitted November 21 by Political Counselor
David Brown, currently on TDY in Goma. (Note: Brown was
accompanied by Jay Nash and Victor Bushamuku of OFDA during some of
the events covered by this report.
End note.)

Rushuru attack
--------------

1. (SBU) Unfounded claims were received from both government and
Nkunda about CNDP occupying Rutshuru. Some may make their way into
the international press. As noted in separate conversations with
embassy, such claims would appear to be false. While in Rutshuru
with a WFP/OFDA/UK team (including Jay Nash, Victor Bushamuku and a
UK embassy poloff) earlier today RPG round being shot off and some
scattered firing of automatic weapons in early afternoon were heard
while at the MONUC base north of town.

2. (SBU) School children were seen running away from the town at
the sound of the firing, but within 90 minutes the foot traffic
along the roads had reversed in the direction of the town all
appeared much the same as it had when visiting the IDP camp in the
town center two hours earlier. A clash of some kind -- which may or
may not have been connected with another episode of shooting
reported to us as taking place in the early morning hours - appears
to have taken place, but if it involved extensive action it occurred
away from the town center and was of limited duration.

LRA defectors
-------------

3. (SBU) LRA defectors made contact with MONUC last week in an
apparent attempt to arrange the surrender of as many as 300 members
and dependents. However, a press leak of the news in Uganda may
have spooked the defectors. Despite repeated attempts, MONUC has
been unable to re-establish contact with the supposed
representatives. MONUC has contingency plans in place to extract
the defectors should they re-establish contact or show up at its
base in Dungu.

4. (SBU) The post administrator of Kiliwe in Orientale province
called MONUC-Bunia on or about November 13 to report he had been
contacted by two supposed LRA members apparently attempting to
arrange surrender. At face-to-face meetings beginning several days
later at MONUC's forward operating base in Dungu, the emissaries
proposed a surrender en masse of some 30 people. However, only
three members appeared at the designated rendez-vous point November
17, and proposed instead making plans for the surrender of 300 LRA
members and dependents.

5. (SBU) MONUC flew the three to its Bunia office, where they
panicked when learning the Ugandan press had reported the planned
surrender of 30 LRA members. Two of the three flew back to Dungu
November 19 to consult with the others. They had agreed to
arrangements for contact via satellite phone November 20 and 21, but
the telephone was switched off when MONUC attempted to call.

6. (SBU) MONUC is continuing its attempts to reach the supposed
defectors. It also provided them with a cell phone and Vodacom
account, but they remain out of range. However, the third defector
remains with MONUC at Bunia. MONUC has reinforced the company
deployed at its Dungu base in anticipation of possible mass
surrender. With a limited number of helicopters available,
evacuation of as many as 300 people could take several days, so it
has also pre-positioned tends, food and other supplies at both Dungu
and Bunia. MONUC's DDRRR extraction team is standing by in Bunia.

7. (SBU) MONUC is prepared for two possible outcomes: if the press
leaks have indeed spooked the defectors, it will monitor the
situation and accommodate individuals who may arrive. If they show
up en masse, it will activate its evacuation plans. MONUC
emphasizes the need for discretion until any surrender takes place.


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