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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05KINSHASA185
2005-02-03 13:39:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Kinshasa
Cable title:  

RESURGENCE OF ETHNICALLY-BASED VIOLENCE IN ITURI

Tags:   PGOV  KPKO  PHUM  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.
						UNCLAS KINSHASA 000185 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KPKO PHUM CG
SUBJECT: RESURGENCE OF ETHNICALLY-BASED VIOLENCE IN ITURI


UNCLAS KINSHASA 000185

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KPKO PHUM CG
SUBJECT: RESURGENCE OF ETHNICALLY-BASED VIOLENCE IN ITURI



1. (U) Summary. Lendu militias attacked the Ituri Hema
village of Tche January 26, causing an unknown number of
civilian casualties and hundreds of IDPs. A similar attack on
another village February 1 apparently resulted in about 60
deaths. Clashes between Lendu and Hema militias in the Djugu
territory of Ituri have been escalating since mid-December
and could further increase if the GDRC does not act. End
Summary.


2. (SBU) MONUC and NGO sources in Bunia spoke with poloff
January 31 about an attack by Lendu militias against Hema
civilians in the Ituri village of Tche (60 kms SW of Bunia)
on January 26. Hema survivors claim that 15 civilians were
killed by the attackers, but this figure has yet to be
confirmed by MONUC. According to the NGO German Agro Action
(AAA) there are close to 1500 internally displaced persons
(IDPs) in the area as a result of this attack. MONUC has
deployed 60 Pakistani peacekeepers to Tche to protect
remaining civilians and UN and NGO agencies are providing
humanitarian assistance to IDPs.


3. (U) NGO sources in Bunia said the attack on Tche is part
of an ongoing conflict in the territory of Djugu between
Lendu militias, mostly from the Front for National
Integration (FNI) and Hema militias from the Union of
Congolese Patriots (UPC). This conflict started in
mid-December and has continued to escalate, fueled apparently
by the desire to control strategic routes to Lake Albert.


4. (U) According to the NGO sources, MONUC has made an effort
to dismantle militia camps in the area of conflict and to
provide humanitarian assistance to civilians following recent
clashes. Peacekeepers, however, are only deployed to two
towns in extremely isolated Djugu territory (Fataki and
Kpandroma) and have limited capability to protect civilians
in small villages. Sources also note that Lendu militias
involved in the fighting are from different factions and may
not be under the control of one particular leader.

Comment
--------------

5. (SBU) Although recent clashes between Lendu and Hema
militias are not yet sustained or widespread, there is a real
danger that the situation can deteriorate again into more
significant ethnic conflict. As Ituri's history demonstrates,
ethnically-based conflicts are extremely difficult to defuse.
The economic motivations which had apparently led to a
temporary decrease in Hema-Lendu hostilities seem to have
fallen by the wayside. It is unclear what either the GDRC or
MONUC can do to defuse the situation, although local
community leaders in Bunia are trying to facilitate dialogue.
MEECE