|06KINSHASA411||2006-03-10 12:32:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Kinshasa|
VZCZCXRO4804 PP RUEHMR DE RUEHKI #0411 0691232 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 101232Z MAR 06 FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3382 INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
C O N F I D E N T I A L KINSHASA 000411
1. (C) According to MONUC officials, elements of the
Patriotic Force for Resistance in Ituri (FRPI) militia
continue to attack positions of the Armed Forces of the DRC
(FARDC) in Ituri District. Although Operation Ituri Engraver
ceased activities over a week ago (reftel), FARDC and MONUC
troops are still engaging in sporadic firefights against
various militias. New fighting is focused on the strategic
commercial crossroads village of Bogoro, approximately 20km
south of Bunia.
2. (C) Internal MONUC planning documents report remnant FRPI
militias fired on MONUC Bangladeshi peacekeepers the night of
March 8 along the Kagaba-Bogoro road. Militia members also
reportedly burned down houses while fleeing counterattacks.
MONUC reports the area is presently under MONUC and FARDC
control, and patrols along the trade road are being conducted
3. (C) MONUC and Ituri District officials told PolCouns and
PolOff heavier fighting broke out between militias and the
FARDC early on the morning of March 10 near Bogoro. MONUC
military officials said MONUC attack helicopters responded to
the attack and quickly pushed back the militia offensive.
MONUC officials added that elements of the Moroccan and
Pakistani peacekeeping battalions were subsequently
dispatched to Bogoro to reinforce FARDC positions. Bogoro
remains under FARDC control, but the security situation there
is deteriorating, according to these same officials.
4. (C) MONUC-Bunia Head of Office Sharouh Sharif told PolOff
the FRPI is using the cessation of Ituri Engraver to rearm
and regroup. Sharif said MONUC has received unconfirmed
reports the FRPI is receiving illegal weapons shipments from
across the border with Uganda. In addition, Sharif said MONUC
has also received reports that elements of the Congolese
Revolutionary Movement (MRC) -- based in northern Ituri --
have been aiding and rearming the FRPI.
5. (C) In separate incidents, FARDC positions in Nioka
(approximately 20km north of Bunia) were attacked the night
of March 7 by different militia elements, most likely from
the MRC. Internal MONUC documents report four FARDC troops
were killed and seven were wounded in the fighting. MONUC
reports the FARDC March 8 succeeding in regaining control
over Nioka. The nights of March 6 and 8, militia forces also
attacked FARDC positions in Dhera (10km from Nioka),
reportedly using AK-47s and mortars. FARDC has reported no
casualties during the Dhera fighting.
6. (C) Comment: The recent militia attacks on the FARDC in
Ituri represent a possible resurgence of militia activity.
Following the suspension of Ituri Engraver -- and after the
conclusion of similar operations earlier in the year -- the
Ituri militias have used every break in fighting to regain
their strength. Reports of alliances between militias are
also troubling, as they indicate efforts to expand a network
of cooperation which could further destabilize the fragile
peace in the region. Furthermore, the continuing reports of
arms shipments across the Uganda border demonstrate the FARDC
is far from being able to eliminate such cross-border
trafficking and thus the militia threat itself. The delay in
reinforcing the FARDC with additional troops after the Aveba
mutiny gives militias an additional opportunity to rearm and
regroup. End comment.