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Cablegate: Goma Report August 28 -

VZCZCXRO1510
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0713 2420939
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 290939Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8362
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0608
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 000713

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS PHUM PREF KPKO CG
UN, EUN
SUBJECT: Goma Report August 28 -
Clashes in Rutshuru Area

1. (SBU) Summary: By the end of the day, MONUC had not ascertained
responsibility for the clashes that occurred in the Rutshuru area
August 28, nor the extent of casualties or collateral damage.
Political damage was clear: CNDP did not attend the North Kivu
working group on disengagement. However, the South Kivu group went
forward, despite FRF fears for safety. End summary.

2. (SBU) The energy in the Amani process which was so palpable in
the preceding days, with the establishment of working groups to
flesh out disengagement zones, hit a rock wall with the news of
prolonged exchanges of fire beginning in the early morning August 28
in the Rutshuru sector. At opening of day, CNDP announced through
text messages that it had been attacked by FARDC and that "the death
of Amani will be the entire and exclusive responsibility of the
government." Citing fears for their security, CNDP members
boycotted the working-group meetings which were to have gotten down
to the concrete work of drawing pull-back lines on maps. The South
Kivu working group was considerably delayed because of FRF
derivative concerns for safety, but the international facilitation
team allayed some of its concerns and the meeting eventually went
forward, with the satisfying prospect of FRF, FARDC, and various Mai
Mai groups poring over maps at the same table.

3. (SBU) Admiral Didier Etumba, co-chairman of the Joint Technical
Commission, twice convoked the facilitation team during the course
of the day for lengthy meetings, the purpose of which was to pin
blame for the attacks on CNDP and to assert the government's
continued adherence to the Amani process. He said that CNDP had
attacked FARDC positions east of Rumangabo (halfway between Goma and
Rutshuru) and near Burai (just south of Rutshuru) but was repulsed
with a successful "counter-offensive" which produced serious CNDP
casualties but only one FARDC killed. President Kabila called
Etumba during the first of these meetings, and Etumba relayed that
Kabila had given instructions to "cease the counter-offensive
immediately." Etumba insisted that MONUC and the facilitation team
must publicly and clearly fix responsibility on CNDP. He said that
the day's clashes showed the importance of making progress on the
disengagement plan, with the Rutshuru road being the single most
important pull-back corridor, one where he hoped MONUC would
establish a much stronger presence.

4. (SBU) At the end of the day, poloff called on acting North Kivu
Brigade commander Col Jaiveer Negi for a review of the day's
military events. (Newly arrived brigade commander Brigadier General
Bipin Rawat was in Kinshasa.) Negi said that MONUC did not know
which side was responsible. The MONUC mobile base at Rugari heard
firing in the early morning in the direction (north) of Rumangabo
and sent out a patrol to investigate, which was briefly impeded by
FARDC. At 8:30 the small MONUC base at Mutabo (10 km east of
Rutshuru) also heard firing in the area of Matebe, located between
Rutshuru and Mutabo, and also went to investigate. In the course of
the morning, FARDC dispatched six BMPs, a multi-barrel rocket
launcher, and attack helicopters to these areas, although none of
them were actually used in the clashes. Firing ceased at Matebe by
11:00 am, and both CNDP and FARDC returned to their areas of
previous control at Matebe. Firing east of Rumangabo eased by
mid-afternoon, but MONUC had not confirmed that FARDC had returned
to its previous position there. (Etumba and 8th Military Region
commander Mayala vehemently insisted to the facilitation team that
it had.) Negi said that it had been exceedingly difficult for
MONUC military to make contact with FARDC, either at brigade or
region level, throughout the day, whereas it had had more success
coordinating with CNDP's Col. Makenga. Eastern Coordinator Alpha
Sow pointedly complained about this lack of communication to Etumba,
who admitted FARDC should have done better. Negi said that he had
no reliable information about casualties or humanitarian collateral
damage from the clashes.

5. (SBU) CNDP has informed facilitation team that, assuming it
MONUC assures fullest security guarantees for its travel from Kimoka
into Goma, it will meet the team early August 29. CNDP's aim for
the meeting is apparently to give a fuller account of its version of
events, rather than to participate in the disengagement working
groups.

GARVELINK

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