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Cablegate: Gdrc Receives Surrender July 31 of Rud Soldiers

VZCZCXRO3342
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0630 2180642
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 050642Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8253
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0606
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000630

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS PHUM PREF KPKO CG UN EUN
SUBJECT: GDRC receives surrender July 31 of RUD soldiers

1. (SBU) The recent surrender of 67 Rassemblement pour l'Unit et
la Democratie (RUD) soldiers in a public ceremony in North Kivu on
July 31 was a small but potentially significant victory for DDRRR.
The ceremony took place in the vicinity of Luofu in Lubero district.
In attendance were the DRC Minister of Foreign Affairs and the
Deputy Ministers of Interior and Defense. Invited guests included
the Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) Task Force and a large press corps.
Rwanda was represented though its JMG members. A high level
invitation had been sent to Kigali by the DRC Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, but no senior Rwandan officials accepted it. U.S. members
of the Task Force attended as part of the JMG delegation.

2. (SBU) Among those who gave speeches were RUD commander General
Musare and Executive Secretary Felicien Kanyamubwa, who had been
flown to Congo from New Jersey at the GDRC's expense. Musare and
Kanyamubwa did not hesitate to criticize Rwandan President Paul
Kagame for the plight of RUD soldiers who, they said, had been
falsely accused of being killers and rapists. They called on Kagame
to give safety guarantees to RUD fighters and to open an
inter-Rwandan dialogue, all old demands. According to the speakers,
the ball was now in Rwanda's court. The Congolese Foreign Minister,
Antipas Mbusa, gave the final speech, clearly enjoying himself in
front of about 15 journalists and some 500 villagers. He used the
opportunity to praise the DRC's willingness to work in partnership
with Rwanda and to point to President Kabila's deep concern for the
Kivus. He told the combatants that they would be given certain
options, but that returning to Rwanda was the best solution. (Note:
This is clearly the main objective of the DDRRR program, but the
Rwandans present after the ceremony expressed concern that the
combatants remaining in the DRC would simply move somewhere nearby,
meaning they could regroup later.)

3. (SBU) Though MONUC's DDRRR office was involved from the
beginning in the RUD-GDRC negotiations that started on January 24,
2008, the final financial breakthrough to make the event happen came
from a private Congolese businessman with ties to the Foreign
Minister. In one month he had organized the construction of the
demobilization camp - including separate quarters for single and
married soldiers as well as the bleachers for the ceremony. DDRRR
was to start sensitizing the ex-combatants right away on the options
available to them, but it was not clear how long the GDRC would be
able to support the camp. Any delay could result in the
ex-combatants abandoning the camp to pursue economic interests
elsewhere. Meanwhile, 42 weapons were collected, of which 2 were
crew-served machine guns. These were given to MONUC for
destruction. (Note: No more than half of the weapons appeared to
be in functioning condition. End note.)

4. (SBU) Comment: Although the number of RUD members laying down
arms was small, the event was a symbolic victory for the GDRC, which
has made an effort to entice Rwandan nationals to demobilize and
repatriate under the Nairobi communique. Both Congolese and DDRRR
officials expressed hope after the ceremony that the Rwandans would
look past the provocative words of the two RUD speakers and take
steps to facilitate and encourage more surrenders. The true value
of the DDRRR process will not be fully known until the disarmed
soldiers have started new lives in Rwanda. Only then will it become
easier to convince other RUD and FDLR combatants that it is safe to
lay down their weapons and go home. End comment.

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