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Cablegate: How Many Fardc Soldiers Are in the Kivus?

VZCZCXRO4806
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1049 3360627
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 020627Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0348
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001049

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV MARR MCAP CG
SUBJECT: HOW MANY FARDC SOLDIERS ARE IN THE KIVUS?

1. (SBU) Summary: On November 11, the Congolese armed forces
(FARDC) completed a census of troops assigned to newly
integrated units in the Kivus. Although registration was
below projections, the numbers represent the first credible
manpower base-line for chain of payments analysis,
assessments of integration success, and a starting point for
developing administrative capacity of a Congolese peacetime
army under civilian control. End summary.

2. (SBU) Approximately 17,500 FARDC soldiers registered in
the Kivus as part of the GDRC census supported by the
European Union's Advisory and Assistance Mission for Security
Reform in the Congo (EUSEC). This number represents 70 per
cent of the expected 25,000 newly integrated soldiers.
Possible explanations for the disparity can be attributed to
a combination of three factors: fraud, deployment, and
desertion.

Name, Rank, and Serial Number
-----------------------------

3. (SBU) Fraud: As FARDC commanders serve double duty as
paymaster, some find an incentive to pad unit payrolls for
personal gain, as noted by one observer who joined a census
team at Kimoka (Note: In integrated brigades participating
in the EUSEC chain of payments initiative, FARDC commanders
do not serve as paymasters. Nevertheless, lower-ranking
paymasters in the EUSEC program are not free from command
influence. End note). At this site, 25 kilometers west of
Goma, census team members filled out standard three-page
questionnaires with information obtained from routine
questioning of soldiers, including a group of young men who
could not recall their bsic personal data and units of
assignment. Under more intense questioning, a member of the
small group confessed to impersonating a soldier. He
explained that he was approached on the road by a man (later
identified as the unit commander), who offered him $30 per
month from the fraudulently obtained salary--less an upfront
$2 investment for the FARDC uniform which the accomplice
could keep. The census team went to investigate, found the
commander on the road with a box of uniforms and pockets full
of currency, and arrested him.

4. (SBU) Deployments and Desertions: Some units were
deployed in remote areas preventing them from participating
in the headcount. USG staff visiting Dungu in Haut-Uele
District of Orientale Province, received reports from locals
that up to 4,000 FARDC from the Kivu-based newly integrated
units were deployed in the area. Lastly, some new FARDC
soldiers deserted for reasons such as poor living conditions,
lack of timely pay, or not adjusting well to the life of a
soldier.

5. (SBU) Comment: Separation of the chain of command from
the chain of payments is a critical component of
professionalization of the armed forces. Although fraud was
not unexpected, we were surprised at the legitimate
deployment of newly integrated FARDC units outside their home
provinces. At the outset of integration, militia commanders
were averse to deployment outside their home regions. These
deployments may be a positive sign of a FARDC ready to serve
where ordered. End comment.
GARVELINK

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