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Cablegate: Goma Situation Report for December 10, 2007

VZCZCXRO8734
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1356 3451032
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 111032Z DEC 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7221
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001356

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM MOPS PREL PREF KPKO CG
SUBJECT: Goma Situation Report for December 10, 2007

SENSTIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

Note: The following report was provided by Embassy Kinshasa's
political officer in Goma. This report was filed before Nkunda
forces on December 10 recaptured territory lost at the beginning of
the current campaign. End note.

1. (SBU) Summary: The FARDC military campaign in North Kivu
remains stalled, with Nkunda's line holding at Kibati and Nkunda
having made a foray within two kilometers of Mushaki. MONUC's North
Kivu Brigade Commander helicoptered with a team into Kirolirwe IDP
camp December 9 to sensitize the IDPs to possible danger and
persuade them to move; however, they insisted on staying put. End
Summary.

2. (SBU) According to military and political sources at MONUC,
FARDC has consolidated its hold over heights of ridges in the
immediate vicinity of Kingi in Masisi territory, but Nkunda's forces
continue to hold fast at nearby Kibati. Early on December 8 (a day
of persistent rain), Nkunda's forces took position on a ridge
(Ruhanda, two kilometers north of Mushaki) which FARDC had not
occupied during its campaign in Mushaki, and fighting has been
ongoing there for three days. MONUC discounts rumors that FARDC has
moved forces along an east-west axis from Masisi toward Kirolirwe,
nor does it have any indication of an FARDC move on the Tongo area
(in the Rutshuru-Kitchanga axis) or of any Nkunda action in the
Rutshuru area. FARDC's two helicopters do not appear to be in
action, possibly because the damage suffered by one of them on the
first day of the campaign was more serious than first thought.

3. (SBU) MONUC North Kivu Brigade Commander General Indrajeet
Narayan led a security/humanitarian team to Kirolirwe by helicopter
on December 9 (a trip planned for December 8 but deferred due to
inclement weather). The object of the visit was to sensitize the
IDP's and local population of the approaching military campaign and
to discuss with them a possible move a short distance to the east or
west, off the main north-south axis where military activity is most
likely to occur. IDP representatives in Kirolirwe told the team
that they "had no intention" to move, claiming that Kirolirwe was
the best grazing location for their cattle and that any move east or
west would make them more vulnerable to attack from FDLR or Mai Mai
groups.

4. (SBU) MONUC/Civil Affairs reports that approximately 600 persons
out of the Kirolirwe population, mostly Hutu and Hunde, have moved
north toward Kitchanga in the past few days, leaving the remaining
populace even more Tutsi. MONUC/Civil Affairs believes that CNDP
has a strong hold over the IDP's. WFP notes that the refusal by the
Kirolirwe IDP's to move is unusual in the North Kivu context, where
typically the least threat of fighting causes significant
displacement of people.

5. (SBU) MONUC Head of Office Ulli Mwambulukutu noted to poloff
that Nkunda's CNDP had called for a ceasefire over the weekend and
that FARDC Land Forces Commander General Gabriel Amisi, who has a
long relationship with and entree to Nkunda, was now in Goma. It
seemed, he suggested, a good moment -- with fighting at something of
an impasse -- for negotiations between the DRC government and
Nkunda, although he had no information that any such negotiations
were occurring.

GARVELINK

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