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Cablegate: Goma Report September 26: Signs Of

VZCZCXRO3662
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0808 2730852
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 290852Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8498
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000808

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS KPKO PHUM PREF CG
SUBJECT: Goma Report September 26: Signs of
FARDC Compliance as CNDP Counterattacks

1. (SBU) Summary: FARDC appears September 26 to have begun
withdrawal from the eastern (Rutshuru) zone of separation. FARDC
and the territorial administrator helped quell a demonstration in
Rutshuru. CNDP has counterattacked in the northern zone. End
Summary.

2. (SBU) FARDC showed the first signs September 26 of living up to
the government's promises to abide by the disengagement plan it
purported to accept on September 18. The North Kivu brigade
observed what it described as the "possible beginning" of FARDC
withdrawal from its forward positions at Ntamugenga and Mutabo in
the eastern zone of separation (with no movement as yet from
Kisherero). This possible withdrawal follows reinforcement by the
FARDC the previous day of those same forward positions. CNDP, in a
press statement, notes the FARDC withdrawal but says the FARDC unit
at Ntamugenga was withdrawn so that it could attack Tongo.

3. (SBU) Another positive sign was the FARDC's and government's
handling of the mass anti-MONUC demonstration at Rutshuru. FARDC
took up positions within Rutshuru from the early morning, and the
territorial administrator (a major instigator of anti-MONUC
sentiment) went on the radio to call upon the populace to stand
down. A large crowd gathered and barricaded the roads, but FARDC
dismantled the barricades, no major looting or stone-throwing
occurred, and the crowds dispersed.

4. (SBU) Meanwhile, according to the afternoon briefing by the
North Kivu brigade, CNDP reacted to the major FARDC advance into the
northern sector of CNDP territory that had taken place the previous
day. FARDC had pushed forward September 25 as far as Tongo, without
incurring CNDP resistance. On September 26 CNDP engaged FARDC along
a wide swathe from just east of Katsiru to Kabizo, north of Tongo.
FARDC was seen to be retreating (running away) not only from
positions which FARDC had captured the previous day at Mashango,
Buranda, and Kabizo, but from positions well inside previously held
FARDC-held territory at Rujebeshe (just southeast of Katsiru) and
Ranguba (northeast of Katsiru). It is not clear whether CNDP will
continue to press its counterattack, for example on Katsiru. As of
the briefing, FARDC was believed still to have a force present in
Tongo. It was not known whether CNDP had surrounded that force, or
whether that force still had a means of retreat on the road east to
Rutshuru. The consequences on the civilian populace of this
adventure on the part of FARDC are unknown but presumably serious.

5. (SBU) The francophone team which MONUC sent to Bunagana in CNDP
territory September 25 reports that it met with low-level local CNDP
officers who did not have decision-making authority. These officers
said, however, that CNDP would make no withdrawals from the proposed
eastern zone of separation until FARDC had fully withdrawn from
Ntamugenga, Mutabo, and Kisherero. They also said that MONUC's
proposed zone of separation made too great demands on CNDP and not
enough on FARDC. The main focal area is Rugari, where CNDP holds
Himbi Height a mere kilometer from the Rutshuru highway and where
MONUC is proposing that CNDP move three kilometers east. The CNDP
officers said that at Rugari FARDC should move to the western side
of the highway. Meanwhile, the CNDP press statement says that FARDC
has launched an attack from Rugari on the CNDP at Kanombe (a clear
admission that CNDP has reoccupied Kanombe, which was previously
within the Rutshuru buffer zone).

BROCK

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