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2004-08-17 15:17:00
Embassy Kinshasa
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 001555 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6X.6

1. (U) Summary: In the absence of other senior officials,
the International Cooperation Vice Minister, an RCD-Goma
appointee, convoked UNSC Perm 5 heads of mission August 16 to
urge support for an international investigation, a more
vigorous MONUC disarmament mandate, and aid to attack
victims. He also requested all efforts be made with
"neighboring countries" to encourage security cooperation in
the area. Answering a question, the Vice Minister said that
the GDRC was willing to meet with Burundian and Rwandan
representatives before the end of the month, but declined to
affirm whether he expected such a meeting to occur. End

2. (C) In the absence of President Kabila, the Foreign
Minister, and many other senior officials attending the SADC
summit in Mauritius, Vice Minister of International
Cooperation Christian Kambinga Sale convoked heads of mission
of the UNSC Perm 5 countries to the Foreign Ministry the
afternoon of August 16. (Comment: Kambinga, a Katangan
member of the RCD-G, was once responsible for that party's
contacts with the diplomatic community. Although
occasionally espousing an RCD-G hardline, in general we have
found him to be moderate and reasonable. End comment.)

3. (U) The Vice Minister reiterated GDRC reaction to the
brutal August 14 attack on Congolese refugees at the Gatumba
camp in Burundi, referring to prior statements issued by the
Presidency. He criticized UNHCR for having located the camp
adjacent to a Burundi military base. In his presentation, he
appealed for support from the UNSC permanent members in the
several areas. Specifically:

a) To push for a rapid and thorough independent international
investigation of the attack. The Vice Minister said that
only such an independent international investigation would be
credible. He added that the GDRC did want to point fingers
yet regarding allegations of involvement, but said that all
avenues needed to be explored. (Comment: A reference to
widespread charges of involvement by Mai Mai or other
Congolese groups, and Rwandan Hutu extremists in addition to
the Burundian FNL. End comment).

b) To support calls for an expanded and more aggressive MONUC
mandate relative to disarmament. By expanding, the Vice
Minister made it clear he was referring to authorization for
disarmament by force of "negative elements," a term long used
to refer to Hutu extremist elements in the region and their

c) To encourage neighboring countries to maintain contact
with the GDRC and cooperate fully regarding the international
investigation and generally help to address general
insecurity in the region. In his remarks, the Vice Minister

particularly noted USG and Belgian efforts to-date to promote
regional dialogue.

d) To favorably consider the need for additional aid to
victims of the attack. The Vice Minister acknowledged
activity by UNHCR and NGO,s, but observed that the brutality
of the attack and the number of family victims greatly
increased the impact on a large number of people in the
camps, and likely relatives in the DRC as well, creating
additional burdens that the UNHCR and others may be hard
pressed to meet.

4. (C) The Vice Minister reported that a significant GDRC
delegation, including a number of parliamentarians, had
traveled to Bujumbura to be present for funeral ceremonies,
talk with Burundian authorities and most importantly with the
surviving refugees themselves. He affirmed that the GDRC
continues to wish for the refugees to return home as soon as
possible. (Comment: MONUC reports that, in addition to VP
Ruberwa, the GDRC was represented in Gatumba by Minister of
Interior Mbemba and several Parliamentarians. Also present,
perhaps unfortunately, were "the group of eight," i.e., the
disaffected RCD-G parliamentarians headed by Bizima Karaha,
and Banyamulenge community extremists including Kadage, who
MONUC believes to be responsible for the widespread
recruitment (sometimes by force) of Banyamulenge youth from
the Cyangagu refugee camp for a "Banyamulenge Defense Force."
End Comment)

5. (U) The Ambassador and the other Perm 5 mission heads
reiterated condemnation of the Gatumba attack and other
elements of the August 15 International Committee to
Accampany the Transition (CIAT) communique and UNSC
Presidential statement. The Ambassador noted a further USG
statement would likely be issued on Monday as well in

6. (U) Near the end of the meeting, the French Charge asked
the Vice Minister about reports of a possible meeting of
GDRC, Burundian, and Rwandan officials toward the end of the
month. Hesitating slightly, the Minister stated that the
GDRC certainly was willing to participate in such a meeting,
but he declined to elaborate further, nor confirm that he
expected any such meeting to occur.

7. (C) Comment: Although Kambinga's presentation was
moderate and reasonable, general reaction to the tragedy
appears to be becoming increasingly extreme. There are
mounting reports of RCD members purchasing one-way tickets
for themselves and their families to return to eastern Congo,
as mumblings that the Tutsis organized the massacre
themselves to generate international sympathy multiply. Even
moderate members of the Banyamulenge community, normally not
given to exaggeration, are anxiously discussing the
possibility of a reprise of the 1996 anti-Tutsi bloodbath in
Kinshasa and elsewhere. To a certain extent, these
sentiments reflect old, underlying tensions, particularly
among the RCD, many of whom have reportedly felt insecure in
Kinshasa. The events in Gatumbe may have temporarily
intensified these predispostions, but we believe that if the
massacre investigation is handled promptly and thoroughly,
these concerns can be dispelled.