Cablegate: November 24 Goma Update

DE RUEHKI #1316/01 3311508
P 271508Z NOV 07





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: November 24 Goma Update


Note: Following report was submitted November 22 by Political
Counselor David Brown, currently on TDY in Goma. End note.

FARDC attack near Goma-Rushuru road

1. (SBU) The FARDC attacked a CNDP position above the Goma-Rutshuru
road near Rugari yesterday morning. A Dakar-based AP team reported
observing FARDC troops loading mobile rocket-launders onto trucks in
the vicinity around midday following the action. They said a FARDC
colonel told them CNDP positions had moved closer to the road
recently. The colonel said the FARDC had taken action to
re-establish control of the road and had pushed back the CNDP
elements there. The AP team also observed several FARDC mortars in
fixed positions near the roadside, and one wounded soldier. MONUC
is currently cautioning against travel on the road. MONUC-Goma head
of office Ulli Mwambulutuku said recent operations may indicate the
FARDC is attempting to provoke Nkunda by probing areas under control
of his troops. Rugari is located in what Mwambulutuku characterized
as a "very sensitive place," Nkunda-controlled territory on
Congo-Uganda-Rwanda border. It is also the pivot of a path between
that enclave and another in Tomgo to the west.

Rutshuru update

2. (SBU) Jane Coyne of Medecins Sans Frontieres, which operates
Rutshuru town's only hospital, said doctors there treated 32 gunshot
victims there following the FARDC-CNDP clash Wednesday. All but
three were civilians, most lightly wounded but including one
fatality. She said the hospital is located only 200 yards from the
FARDC battalion headquarters which was the target of a CNDP attack.
Separately, Lt. Col. Sandeep Jaswal, MONUC's chief intelligence
officer, reported that telephone calls to belligerent commanders by
Lt. Col R. Parmar, the MONUC commander at Kiwanji base north of the
town, succeeded in bringing the shooting to an end and withdrawal by
CNDP forces from the town shortly after the action had begun.

Serufuli lobbies for MONUC MOB

3. (SBU) Provincial deputy Eugene Serufuli asked for assistance to
convince MONUC to establish a mobile operations base (MOB) near
Bunagana in Rutshuru territory to encourage the return of residents
who fled to the Ugandan town of Kisoro. Serufuli, a controversial
former senior RCD official and governor during the Transition,
retains strong ties to the Hutu communities of his Rutshuru power
base. He said the refugees tell him they want to return home, but
UNHCR plans to relocate them away from the border at the end of the
month. I relayed his message to Mwambulutuku. Bunagana is part of
the CNDP tri-border enclave and the fief of Col. Makenga, a top
Nkunda commander suspected of serious abuses against alleged FDLR
sympathizers during his tenure as head of the Bravo mixed brigade.
Parmar told the WFP-led assessment mission on Wednesday that a MONUC
MOB established near Jomba in the same enclave has helped facilitate
the return of some 70 per cent of the town's residents.

SADC generals surprised to find no war in Goma
--------------------------------------------- -

4. (SBU) The 21-member Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)
defense and security mission have been surprised not to encounter
war zone conditions in Goma. Mwambulutuku said MONUC's briefing
yesterday was "a real eye-opener" for the delegation, composed
principally of senior military and intelligence officers and headed
by an Angolan lieutenant general. He said delegates' questions
included what it would take for the FARDC to become "a real army,"
and the new role of the United States. The mission arrived November
22, and was scheduled to visit Sake and the Mugunga IDP complex
yesterday and Bukavu today before returning for meetings with the
FARDC regional command and OCHA.

MONUC again appeals for FARDC information-sharing
--------------------------------------------- ----

5. (SBU) The FARDC regional command continues to be averse to
sharing information with MONUC about North Kivu operations.
Mwambulutuku reported MONUC commanders told Kayembe and Gaye
directly that the FARDC needs to share information about troop
movements and intelligence. Last week's Mugunga incident, the
result of FARDC deployment of heavy artillery at its camp in the
middle of the sprawling IDP complex despite repeated warnings from
North Kivu Brigade Commanding General I. Narayan, is only the latest
example. Jaswal told a U.S.-UK briefing on Monday that the FARDC
had subsequently moved the artillery, but had refused to tell MONUC

KINSHASA 00001316 002 OF 002

its new location.

Russian BNP's in Goma

6. (SBU) Mwambulutuku reported all nine of the DRC's Russian-made
BNP's (armored personnel carriers) are now on the ground in Goma; he
has seen them and describes them as "old." He said Kabila's
Republican Guard led the tank-like vehicles into town after they had
been barged up from Bukavu. The BNP's had initially been deployed
in Walikale territory in the west of the province after being
transported by boat from Kinshaha to Kisangani. They were ordered
down the road to Bukavu's port earlier in the month. A former
Kabila adviser with close ties to South Kivu politics reported the
BNP's caused widespread panic in Bukavu when they arrived following
the dismissal of Governor Celestin Cibalonza by the provincial
assembly. He said he had received numerous messages from panicked
contacts convinced that Kabila had sent "tanks" to reinstate
Cibalonza, who is widely viewed as a tool of Kabila and National
Assembly President Vital Kamerhe.


© Scoop Media

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