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Cablegate: Eastern Drc Notes - September 21: Idp Camps

VZCZCXRO0594
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0852/01 2641510
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211510Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0093
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000852

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PGOV PREL MOPS PHUM KPKO CG
SUBJECT: EASTERN DRC NOTES - SEPTEMBER 21: IDP CAMPS
EMPTYING

1. (U) The information contained in this report consists
principally of spot reports from various sources. This cable is not
exhaustive, nor can all the information contained herein be
confirmed at this time.

IDP Camps Almost Empty
----------------------

2. (SBU) UNHCR reported that most of North Kivu's IDP camps
continue to empty as IDPs return to their home areas. Bulengo,
Buhimba, Kibabti I, and Kibati II are completely empty. Most of the
residents of Mugunga I camp, which was approximately 60% full on
September 18, have also departed over the last two days.


3. (SBU) IDPs from Mugunga II camp have not yet started returning.
Camp residents told us that they were waiting to be registered by
UNHCR, as the UN agency apparently told them that only registered
IDPs would be eligible for assistance once they returned (Note: It
is not clear what will happen to IDPs who spontaneously returned
before the UNHCR certificate system was in place. Also uncertain is
whether IDPs, who were with host families, will also receive
assistance. End note).

4. (SBU) IDPs in some smaller camps appear to have remained. IDPs
from the CCLK camp, which UNHCR does not administer, have not moved.
According to UNHCR, Mugunga II has increased its capacity by
approximately 1,000 to 5,000 (Comment: As there have been few new
huts constructed, this increase is questionable, unless new IDPs
have moved in with existing IDPs. End comment).

5. (SBU) There are several possible explanations why the IDPs have
decided to return now:


-- Individuals want to return in time for the planting season and
the school year, both of which are just starting.

-- Some IDPs fear that large scale returns of Tutsi refugees in
Rwanda is imminent, so they want to safeguard their "property,"
which may have belonged to Tutsis before they occupied it.

-- UNHCR has cut assistance to the camps, and with an estimated 80%
of IDPs claiming they want to go home (UNHCR estimate), this is
simply a propitious moment.

NGO meeting with Doss
---------------------

6. (SBU) During a recent meeting with SRSG Alan Doss, the NGO
community in Goma raised several concerns related to the return of
IDPs:

-- Security in the returning areas: NGOs pointed out that the areas
of return are areas considered unsafe by the UN, necessitating MONUC
escorts for visits to these areas.

-- Lack of basic infrastructure in the returning areas: There is a
significant shortage of schools, health facilities, and water
systems in the areas. While many NGOs expressed willingness to
provide assistance to returnees, they pointed out that much of their
financing is tied to specific areas and conditions, i.e., assistance
to IDPs in camps. It is not evident, according to NGOs, whether
donors will/can approve of this redirection of assistance.

-- Continued IDP movements in other areas: NGOs noted that, while
most of the attention is on returning IDPs, there are new IDP
movements from Shabunda, Kabare, and Walungu in South Kivu into
North Kivu.

-- Medical NGOs are concerned about a mass movement of IDPs
throughout the region at the same moment when Goma is suffering from
an outbreak of cholera.

-- Most returnees are heading to areas previously controlled by the
CNDP, from whom the overwhelming majority of IDPs originally fled.
According to OCHA, CNDP soldiers in the field exist more or less as
QAccording to OCHA, CNDP soldiers in the field exist more or less as
before with their own command structure and a parallel
administration. Humanitarian groups, therefore, stress that MONUC
should place even more emphasis on civilian protection, as the IDPs
return home.

-- Tensions remain high in most return areas. There are reports of
returningTutsi refugees and families of CNDP combatants occpying
homes.

KINSHASA 00000852 002 OF 002

7. (SBU) Doss promised to discuss with donors the possibility of
redirecting assistance for IDP camps to returnees. Parallel
military and administrative structures were unacceptable, he added,
and he would raise this with the GDRC. Doss acknowledged that
tensions had increased in many areas, emphasizing that MONUC would
remain attentive to civilian protection.

8. (SBU) Comment: There are most likely a variety of reasons that
are driving the decision by IDPs to return. In many parts of North
Kivu, the security situation has improved, but there are, as the
NGOs noted, many areas that remain relatively insecure. UNHCR told
post that some Congolese Tutsi refugees in Rwanda will almost
certainly return by the end of 2009. IDP returns are welcome, but
the challenges, as outlined by the NGOs, remain formidable. Chief
among these is the never-ending question of land ownership. Coupled
with competition between rwandophones and other ethnic groups, the
question of land ownership could easily lead to a spike in
inter-ethnic tensions, if not handled properly.

Humanitarian situation in Haut Uele and Ituri
---------------------------------------------

9. (U) According to Radio Okapi, OCHA has announced that over
500,000 people have fled attacks by the LRA in Haut-Uele and by
militia groups in Ituri. Since April, the LRA has carried out
approximately 160 attacks on civilians, resulting in 174 deaths and
455 adults kidnapped (OCHA did not state how many children the LRA
had kidnapped). In total, there are 340,000 IDPs in the
LRA-affected areas, with another 25,000 refugees in South Sudan.

10. (U) In Ituri, the number of IDPs has grown from 60,000 to
180,000 over the last year due to fighting between the FARDC and the
two rebel militias, the FRPI and the FPJC. The majority of IDPs,
according to OCHA, have not received any assistance because of the
insecure situation. Responding to calls for increased MONUC
presence in Ituri to protect humanitarian deliveries, Deputy SRSG
Ross Mountain declared that MONUC would take the necessary measures
to reinforce humanitarian activity in the region.

GARVELINK

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