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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05KINSHASA1626 2005-09-30 09:53:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kinshasa
Cable title:  

LRA UPDATE: 200 FARDC TROOPS IN ABA, ANOTHER 650

Tags:   PREL MARR PGOV KPKO CG UG 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L KINSHASA 001626 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/30/2015
TAGS: PREL MARR PGOV KPKO CG UG
SUBJECT: LRA UPDATE: 200 FARDC TROOPS IN ABA, ANOTHER 650
EN ROUTE

REF: KINSHASA 1589 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: PolCouns MSanderson, reasons 1.4 b/d.



1. (C) Both the FARDC and MONUC confirmed to PolCouns
morning of September 30 that 200 FARDC troops are currently
in Aba. (Note: These are non-integrated forces which
General Padiri had ordered transferred from other patrol
points in northeastern Oriental province, one company plus
two platoons. They arrived in Aba the evening of September


28. End Note.) Congolese Air Force General John Numbi told
PolCouns that 650 Congolese commandos (one battalion) are
currently in Kisangani, and should arrive today in Aru.
(Note: Aru, the closest town to Aba, is being used by both
MONUC and the FARDC as the staging point for military
operations. End Note.) Another 560 commandos, who are
flying from the city of Mbuji Mayi in Eastern Kasai province,
might reach Kisangani by Sunday if the FARDC can overcome a
problem with lack of fuel at the Mbuji Mayi airport. In
addition, 150 FARDC troops from the First Integrated Brigade
(Ituri District) arrived yesterday in Aru from Bunia and a
further 400 are scheduled to reach Aru today (via FARDC
transport).



2. (C) An MI-25 helicopter mission with MONUC and FARDC
experts was already in the air at first light September 30 to
evaluate the airstrip at Aba to see if it could be made
usable for fixed-wing aircraft. The helicopter will also
perform a general reconnaissance of the border area with both
Sudan and Uganda. (Comment: Availability of the Aba airstrip
would represent a critical factor in planned operations and
deployment. The FARDC could fly troops directly into Aba,
and the strip would be available for logistics support. Any
significant rehabilitation work, however, could require
equipment and materials that simply are not available.
Transit on what is left of the road from Aru to Aba is
estimated to take at least 10 hours, excluding vehicles stuck
in the mud or breakdowns, both likely occurences. The FARDC
has no trucks or other vehicles in the region; trucks for
deployments would come from Aru-based private sector sources.
End Comment.) If the airstrip cannot (as expected) be made
usable, MONUC is prepared to transport Congolese troops from
Aru to Aba by helicopter. In preparation for this operation,
MONUC is airlifting 50,000 liters of fuel from Bunia to Aru.
MONUC is planning to use three MI-17 helicopters (each with a
maximum troop-carrying load of 30 troops), with air cover
from two MI-25's, to transfer 650 FARDC troops in virtually
continuous flights Saturday and Sunday, with the objective of
having at least 650 FARDC troops in Aba by Sunday night (in
addition to the 200 already there). Transferring the
remaining 1,200 troops envisioned as ultimately destined for
Aba would, of course, take well into next week, given the
logistical constraints (fuel, limited carrying capacity of
the helicopters) and bad weather (the rainy season has begun)
which could intervene at any point to impose further delays.



3. (C) Comment: The arrival of the 200 9th Military
District troops in Aba is welcome news. As noted, other
FARDC forces are en route, although one should never
overestimate FARDC logistics capabilities to execute
deployments on schedule. The arrival of a FARDC battalion
via MONUC transport helicopters with MONUC gunship support
should begin to provide something of a critical mass
representing significant military pressure on LRA elements in
the area. The ongoing deployments and military activity
should at minimum already be making it clear to the LRA,
should there be any lingering illusions, that they enjoy no
sympathy for their presence even in this remote corner of the
DRC.
MEECE