Cablegate: Goma Report September 8: Continued

DE RUEHKI #0739/01 2530841
R 090841Z SEP 08



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Goma Report September 8: Continued
Clashes, Extending South to Numbi

1. (SBU) Summary: Clashes occurred in yet another area September
8, with CNDP occupying Numbi just across the provincial border in
South Kivu. North Kivu brigade fired on CNDP north of Nyanzale
September 7, to keep CNDP elements from moving on Kikuku. On the
other hand, CNDP had withdrawn from Nyanzale and possibly Katsiru by
the end of the day September 6. Ministers of Interior and Defense
visited Nyanzale September 7 and made statements there and in
Rutshuru far more favorable to MONUC than in the government
declaration of September 8. The large IDP camp at Kibumba, north of
Goma, staged a protest over lack of food delivery and stoned MONUC
vehicles. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Over the past several days, the Rutshuru corridor has been
quieter than during the week following August 28. The exceptions
were an exchange of fire and possible CNDP attack September 7 on
FARDC at Rugarama, beyond the CNDP's area of control northeast of
Rutshuru near the Ugandan border, and a major demonstration at the
Kibumba camp September 8. Kibumba is a large "informal" camp (not
under UNCHR oversight) 20 kilometers north of Goma. The IDP's there
are angry that they have received no food distribution since April
24 and directed their anger at the nearby MONUC base, stoning MONUC

3. (SBU) The CNDP push northward from Katsiru to Nyanzale was
quickly defused by the North Kivu brigade September 6, with a show
of force that persuaded the CNDP commander to withdraw. However, on
September 7 the North Kivu brigade encountered CNDP elements active
north of Nyanzale, apparently on their way to Kikuku having skirted
Nyanzale, and for the first time the North Kivu brigade did fire on
CNDP and appeared to have prevented further northward movement by
CNDP, although an eruption of firing was detected even north of
Kikuku on September 8. North Kivu brigade believes that CNDP has
largely evacuated Katsiru, the village taken on September 5, with
the proviso that CNDP seem to be at large throughout the area.

4. (SBU) Activity moved to a new zone September 8, with the
apparent occupation by CNDP of the village of Numbi across the
provincial border in South Kivu. MONUC believes that, as occurred
in Nyanzale, the FARDC withdrew from Numbi before the arrival of the
CNDP. The South Kivu brigade has no standing presence in Numbi, in
contrast to Nyanzale, but has sent an attack helicopter to overfly
the area. Thus far, MONUC sources have no information on activity
by PARECO in the area.

5. (SBU) Minister of Interior Kalume and Minister of Defense Chikez
visited North Kivu September 6 and 7 (National Assembly President
Kamerhe was also present in Goma but was not to be seen). Kalume
and Chikez summoned the facilitation team to a singular performance
at 8th military region headquarters on the evening of September 6.
What was billed as an exchange of views with the facilitation team
turned out to be a good-cop bad-cop long-winded monologue by the two
ministers, whose core message was that if MONUC did not use its
resources to defeat CNDP the government would not be able to prevent
the masses, including in Goma, from rising up violently against

6. (SBU) On September 7, the ministers led a delegation (largely
FARDC but including facilitation members Alpha Sow and Jean-Michel
Dumont) by MONUC helicopter to Nyanzale and to Rutshuru. According
to Sow and Dumont, the delegation seemed to believe the town would
be largely deserted, but there was a large turnout of the populace,
which apparently had fled only a short distance when CNDP arrived
but quickly returned. The populace expressed distrust of MONUC and
were pleased to have both CNDP and FARDC out of the town. However,
the North Kivu brigade's undertaking with FARDC is that it will have
to stay away from Nyanzale only four days. Chief of Staff Kayembe,
speaking to Dumont, revealed that he had no apparent idea where
FARDC's 7th brigade (headquartered at Nyanzale) had disappeared to,
when it fled before the small elements of CNDP who briefly occupied
the town. The prevailing concept among members of the delegation
was that the 7th brigade had fled on account of treason by one of
its officers who had connections RCD head Ruberwa. Meanwhile,
Congolese radio on September 7 praised what it called the great
FARDC victory in expelling CNDP from Nyanzale.

7. (SBU) The Ministers, both at Nyanzale and Rutshuru, played a
more positive role than was to be expected from their monologue
September 6. They called on the populace to cooperate with MONUC,
in particular, desist from blocking roads and throwing stones. At
Rutshuru, the territorial administrator (a well-known firebrand and
instigator of the populace) openly said, in the presence of the
ministers, that he did not believe in Amani, that CNDP was bent on
"killing the people like pigs" and on attaching Rutshuru territory

KINSHASA 00000739 002 OF 002

to Rwanda. The ministers departed Goma on the evening of September
7. On September 8 the Minister of Interior issued a declaration
effectively calling on MONUC to wage war against the CNDP as the
only way to assuage the anger of the populace.

8. (SBU) After the delegation left Nyanzale, a North Kivu supply
convoy, attempting to resupply the much-reinforced North Kivu base
at Nyanzale, was blocked by the local populace at Kisheshe on the
road from the north. FARDC elements were present in the crowd and
fired shots (unsuccessfully) at truck tires.

9. (SBU) Alpha Sow briefed the facilitation team September 8 on a
telephone conversation that SRSG Doss had with Nkunda September 6.
Nkunda was, according to Sow, angry at MONUC because of the "ill
treatment" which CNDP had received at Nyanzale, viz., the threat of
use of force if CNDP did not withdraw and the refusal to allow CNDP
to make off with FARDC guns and ammunition. (Note: North Kivu
assesses that FARDC had left behind little materiel in Nayanzale,
while CNDP captured 170 AK-47s and 10 mortars at Katsiru.) Doss
assured Nkunda that Amani, which technically expired August 2, would
soon be officially prolonged. Nkunda dismissed Amani and sought
another forum, which Doss told him would be completely unacceptable.
Nkunda complained of the presence of the 14th brigade, newly
arrived at Sake.

10. (SBU) Meanwhile, there has been no progress on the core issue
that has stoked tensions since August 28, i.e., the occupation by
both FARDC and CNDP of positions in the Rutshuru informal buffer
zone east of the Goma-Rutshuru highway (respectively, Ntamugenga and
Mutabo by FARDC, and Kanombe by CNDP). The visiting ministers told
Sow that withdrawal from Ntamugenga and Mutabo was "politically
impossible" for the government (although General Etumba continues to
say that the FARDC "can withdraw"), while CNDP has adamantly refused
to discuss the issue except at Kimoka or abroad (unacceptable to the
government). Meanwhile, the government is planning to hold the next
Steering Committee meeting of the Joint Technical Commission at
Bukavu September 12-13, at which CNDP will almost certainly not be
present. The facilitation team September 8 decided that further
pressuring of FARDC or CNDP, for example with the idea of talks at
MONUC-controlled air terminal in Goma, would for the time being be
unproductive. UK officer Tom Pravda and poloff urged Eastern
Division Chief of Staff Col. Cunliffe to press for purely military
contact with CNDP and FARDC with the object of a mutual withdrawal
from the three sites in the buffer zone.


© Scoop Media

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