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Cablegate: Civilian Protection Against Lra Attacks

VZCZCXRO0564
PP RUEHGI
DE RUEHKI #0784 2371327
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251327Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0019
INFO RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 4700
RUEHGI/AMEMBASSY BANGUI 0024
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0029
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0761
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000784

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PGOV PHUM PREL MOPS KPKO CG
SUBJECT: CIVILIAN PROTECTION AGAINST LRA ATTACKS
IN THE DRC

REFS: STATE 87508

1. (U) Responses to reftel-specific questions for the DRC are in
paragraph two below. Our response has been cleared by USAID/OFDA
and DAO representatives at post.

2. (SBU) --What are the current MONUC and FARDC response capacities
in LRA-affected areas?

The FARDC has approximately 6,000 soldiers involved in Operation
Rudia II, spread out over an area north of an axis formed by
Faradje-Dungu-Ango. They are dismounted infantry operating in
battalion- and company-sized units, some reinforced by 30-man UPDF
intelligence teams.


MONUC has a Moroccan battalion in three company operating bases
(COBs) in Haut Uele (Duru, Dungu, Faradje) and two temporary
operating bases with Senegalese troops in Bas Uele (Isiro and
Dingila). There is also a Bangladeshi engineer company and two
helicopters based in Dungu. Other helicopters support Rudia II from
the Kivus.

MONUC and FARDC response capacities are probably as good as can be
expected given their troop numbers and the vast territory in which
the LRA is operating. Since the beginning of the year, MONUC has
been noticeably more active in efforts to secure major axes and
thereby improve security and facilitate commerce. FARDC troops have
displayed unusual discipline in dealing with the local populations.
Despite these trends, the challenge of providing protection to all
civilians in the region at all times remains impossible. As one
senior MONUC official commented, "we cannot put a soldier behind
every banana tree."

--What is the impact of real or perceived MONUC mandate limitations
with regard to civilian protection in the areas affected by the
LRA?

Our understanding is that MONUC presently has a clear mandate to
carry out civilian protection. The problem, from our viewpoint, is
not that the mandate is lacking; the problem lies in on-going,
broadly dispersed insecurity.


--Post has provided considerable information to date on shortfalls
in NGO/IO humanitarian operations in LRA-affected areas. We would
appreciate any further information on shortfalls, and particularly
what obstacles are creating these.

Once the security situation is addressed, the logistical challenges
will become much more manageable. Quite frankly, the biggest
shortfall facing the NGO/IO community is the inability to access the
majority of the LRA-affected areas because of poor security.
Humanitarian organizations therefore continue to operate in a very
limited space.


If the security situation improves, there is a large potential pool
of financial and human resources that could be deployed quickly to
the region.


--How would any additional humanitarian resources best be used to
provide assistance and protection to civilian populations?

In our view, additional humanitarian resources in the current
environment could even aggravate the security situation, as LRA
elements are attracted to humanitarian distribution of foodstuffs,
non-food items, and medicine. Humanitarian airdrops are particular
magnets for LRA forces.

GARVELINK

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