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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04KINSHASA1904
2004-10-14 14:06:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Kinshasa
Cable title:  

ETHNIC HATRED ON THE RISE IN BUKAVU: CROWD ATTACKS

Tags:   PGOV  PHUM  PINS  KPKO  CG 
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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 001904 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/13/2014
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS KPKO CG
SUBJECT: ETHNIC HATRED ON THE RISE IN BUKAVU: CROWD ATTACKS
PEACEKEEPERS SEEN WITH "TUTSI"

REF: A. A: KINSHASA 1884


B. B: KINSHASA 1874 C: KINSHASA 1870

C. D: KINSHASA 1807

Classified By: Poloff Gons Nachman for Reasons 1.5 B and D



1. (C) Summary. A large crowd threw rocks and threatened to
kill UN peacekeepers whose vehicle had broken down in the
center of Bukavu on October 6 after they saw them
transporting a man of Tutsi appearance. Although this person
was a long time MONUC Congolese interpreter of Mushi
ethnicity, the crowd asserted that he was a Rwandan
infiltrator. Despite the fact that this incident took place
close to the office of the regional military commander,
neither he nor his troops intervened to disperse the crowd
for two hours until UN personnel threatened to shoot in
self-defense. This incident as well as demonstrations against
the return of Banyamulenge refugees in Uvira (reftels), is
further evidence of a dangerous campaign of manipulation and
intolerance against Congolese of Tutsi ethnicity by the media
in Kinshasa and by civil society, military, and church
figures in South Kivu. End Summary.

Crowd Targets Peacekeepers Seen with "Tutsi"


--------------------------





2. (C) MONUC sources in Bukavu described to poloff October 6
an incident which took place in Bukavu the preceding day. At
approximately 10:30 AM a MONUC APC broke down in the center
of Bukavu. The APC was transporting Uruguayan peacekeepers
and a Congolese interpreter who works for MONUC. A woman who
saw the interpreter's face assumed that he was a Tutsi and
started screaming that MONUC was transporting a Rwandan
infiltrator. A crowd gathered quickly around the peacekeepers
and began insulting MONUC, throwing rocks, and demanding
access to the Tutsi. The individual in question was in fact a
Mushi and not a Tutsi, but he happened to have facial
features associated with Tutsis.

FARDC's General Mabe Ignores Situation for Two Hours


--------------------------



--------------------------





3. (C) The crowd around the peacekeepers grew to over a
thousand people, including many students, and the threats
continued for close to two hours. As this incident was taking
place, MONUC staff tried to reach FARDC's 10th military
region commander General Mbuja Mabe, whose office was located
less than 150 meters from where the crowd had assembled. Mabe
did not answer MONUC's phone calls and FARDC soldiers present
in the area did not intervene to disperse the crowd. Once the
crowd started to threaten to burn peacekeepers alive, MONUC
said that it would fire in self-defense. At this point, Mabe
emerged from his office and his soldiers started to disperse
the crowd. According to MONUC, it would have been unlikely
that Mabe, whose office window faces the street where the
crowd had gathered, would not have seen or heard the large
crowd for the two hours that they threatened the peacekeepers.



4. (C) MONUC staff reported that the same crowd which
threatened the peacekeepers also looted the offices of the
Congolese Rally for Democracy-Goma (RCD-G) located in the
same area. FARDC soldiers did not intervene to stop the crowd
from entering the premises of this political party. On the
contrary, according to MONUC sources, FARDC soldiers actually
incited the crowd and even laughed as both peacekeepers and
the RCD-G offices were attacked. Several Uruguayan peacekeers
suffered injuries, albeit not serious ones, as a result of
the attack on the APC.

Media Propaganda Against Tutsis Continues


--------------------------





5. (U) The pro-government Kinshasa daily newspaper "L'Avenir"
published an article about the Bukavu incident, but it
claimed falsely that a riot had been averted thanks to Mabe's
intervention after MONUC had hidden two Rwandans in a tank.
Another major daily newspaper, "La Reference Plus", published
the same day a front page article from a Bukavu NGO on the
Gatumba massacre. This NGO alleged that the victims at
Gatumba had not been Banyamulenge refugees, but Rwandan Tutsi
soldiers who had infiltrated the camp to attack the Congo.
The usually moderate newspaper provided prominent coverage to
this five-page article without questioning the credibility of
the baseless allegations.



6. (C) MONUC and UNHCR sources in Bukavu have also referred
to a campaign by civil society, politicians, the military,
and church leaders in South Kivu against the return of
Banyamulenge refugees, portraying members of this ethnic
group in public and private statements as non-Congolese and
suggesting that they are Rwandan infiltrators bent on
attacking the Congo.

Comment


--------------------------





7. (C) The attack on MONUC peacekeepers in Bukavu by a large
crowd of civilians who thought MONUC was hiding a "Tutsi"
illustrates the high level of paranoia and animosity which
has been fomented in South Kivu against this ethnic group.
The demonstrations in Uvira against the return of
Banyamulenge (ethnic Tutsis) refugees from Burundi has also
been part of a related manipulation effort by hard-line
elements in South Kivu. Further ethnically-motivated attacks
in this province could lead to a major incident threatening
the peace process and the transition. The GDRC needs to take
a stand to halt a growing campaign of ethnic hatred in South
Kivu and elsewhere.



8. (U) Bujumbura minimize considered.
DOUGHERTY