wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
2008-02-11 06:52:00
Embassy Kinshasa
Cable title:  

Final Interim Technical Committee meetings in Bukavu and

pdf how-to read a cable
DE RUEHKI #0143/01 0420652
O 110652Z FEB 08
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 KINSHASA 000143 




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Final Interim Technical Committee meetings in Bukavu and

Ref: Kinshasa 124





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Final Interim Technical Committee meetings in Bukavu and

Ref: Kinshasa 124

1. (SBU) Summary: Vice-Admiral Etumba, who is likely to continue to
play a leading role in the military commission created by the Goma
accords, pressed ahead with interim meetings with armed groups in
Bukavu February 4-5, CNDP in Goma February 6 and other armed groups
in Goma February 7. All parties were confused by the presidential
decree February 2 establishing a "Peace Program" for the Kivus.
Armed groups, especially the CNDP, objected to not being consulted
in advance; Mai Mai groups objected to "special treatment" for the
(Tutsi) CNDP and FRF. Etumba could not fully explain how the
structure he was advocating during his interim meetings would fit
into the "Peace Program." But he pressed ahead anyway, and
succeeded in gaining acceptance from all sides, with many caveats.
End Summary.

2. (SBU) Naval Forces Chief of Staff Vice-Admiral Didier Etumba
extended his stay in North and South Kivu well beyond his original
expectations February 4-7, carrying on with his effort to "sell"
armed groups on a structure and timetable for the Peace and Security
Technical Commission called for in the Kivus conference Acte
d'Engagement of January 23. The anticipated visit of a senior
political figure to participate in this effort never materialized,
so Etumba carried the burden alone. (Note: Interior Minister Denis
Kalume and National Assembly President Vital Kamerhe turned up with
a delegation in Bukavu February 5, but were there to inspect damage
from the February 3 earthquake. End note.)

3. (SBU) Etumba thought he had squared away the North Kivu armed
groups in meetings January 28-31, but CNDP reopened debate and
Etumba conducted another meeting with them February 6, and with the
others February 7. He had met South Kivu armed groups, minus the
Banyamulenge FRF, in Goma on February 2 and gained their preliminary
acceptance (sweetened by handing over $10,000). However, he deemed
it necessary to meet all the South Kivu groups in their own
province, which he expected to accomplish February 4.

4. (SBU) Meanwhile, without forewarning to any party in the Kivus
including Etumba himself, President Kabila issued a decree February
2 elaborating a "Programme Amani" (Peace Program) for the Kivus.
Articles 9-12 of the decree sets up the Mixed Peace and Security
Technical Committee as contemplated by the Acte d'Engagement.
Article 9 states that that the Technical Commission is composed of
representatives of the government, two delegates each from CNDP and
FRF, and one from each of the other armed groups signatory to the
Acte, as well as representatives of the international community.
Etumba had billed his Kivus meetings as an ad hoc effort to prepare
the way for the establishment of the Technical Commission, but now
he had to carry on with meetings after the Technical Commission was
already established -- with many question marks hanging over it.

Meetings in Bukavu

5. (SBU) On February 4, a MONUC helicopter carried Etumba, General
Bikram Singh (Commander of MONUC's Eastern Division, now based in
Goma), John Almstrom (MONUC Chief of Staff, now delegated to oversee
post-conference developments in the Kivus), and international
facilitators (EU, UK, U.S.) to Bukavu. Many of the residents of
South Kivu's capital had spent the night outdoors, fearing
aftershocks from the earthquake of the day before; however, damage
was not widespread in the areas of the city through which the
delegation drove.

6. (SBU) A principal objective of the trip was aborted when it was
learned that the Banymulenge dissident group known as FRF
(Republican Front for Federalism) or Group of 47 was not going to
appear. Etumba nonetheless went ahead with the day's meeting with
the 13 assembled Mai Mai groups, with the hope of meeting the FRF
the following day. (It was not clear whether FRF was playing hard
to get or whether there had been a simple failure of communication
between FRF and MONUC, but MONUC was confident that FRF would appear
at the helicopter pick-up point in Minembwe the following day for
transport to Bukavu, and in fact this did occur.)

7. (SBU) Undeterred by news he had just received of the issuance of
the presidential decree of February 2, Etumba proceeded, as he had
done in all his meetings the previous week in Goma, to describe and
solicit acceptance of a structure ("organigram") and timetable
("chronogram") for implementing the Acte. His organigram called for
two sub-commissions (one military, the other humanitarian and
social) under a co-chairmanship, each divided into North and South
Kivu sections, and each of those sub-divided into "cells." His

KINSHASA 00000143 002 OF 004

chronogram set forth an extremely ambitious schedule (elaboration of
a disengagement plan within nine days, assembling of armed groups in
transit centers in 28 days, departure for brassage or demobilization
in 37 days, return of IDPs and refugees and presentation of lists of
detained persons in 40 days), but now, at Almstrom's and Singh's
insistence, Etumba hastened to say that his timetable was merely
"indicative." (Note: In Singh's analysis, which he provided later
to the international facilitators, this timetable was both totally
unrealistic and designed to trap the international community into
putting pressure on CNDP and FRF.)

8. (SBU) The South Kivu Mai Mai groups' acceptance of the structure
and timetable was not in doubt, but they used the occasion to speak
at length about their grievances. These included: objections to
Kabila's "Amani" decree naming two CNDP and two FRF to the Technical
Commission while other armed groups had one representative apiece
("we are all just as much political-military organizations as they
are"), insistence that there be a careful census of refugees with
participation of traditional chiefs (on the ground that many
refugees were not, they claimed, Congolese), urging that freeing of
detained persons be placed further forward in the timetable, and
requesting more logistical and monetary help. Almstrom noted that
while a de facto ceasefire in South Kivu had existed for many
months, MONUC hoped that in the event of any violence all parties
would contact the MONUC focal point for immediate investigation.

9. (SBU) The delegation again helicoptered to Bukavu on February 5.
The meeting with six representatives of the FRF/Group of 47 followed
similar lines with a similar result: guarded acceptance of the
structure and timetable, on the understanding that these were
notional. FRF representatives went through an even longer list of
their own grievances: creating a separate territory of Minembwe,
assuring amnesty prior to the establishment of the Technical
Commission, suppressing hate-mongering, dealing with FDLR, removing
rival Banyamulenge Colonel Pacifique Masunzu as deputy commander of
the 10th Military Region, inquiry into massacres, return of
refugees, assuring appropriate ranks for their officers upon
brassage (a process to be overhauled), and economic development of
the Minembwe High Plains region. Many of these reflected
longstanding demands of their allies among Kinshasa-based
Banyamulenge politicians.

10. (SBU) Etumba, who had downplayed the naming of two FRF
commission representatives the previous day, emphasized it in this
meeting. He went through all the FRF's grievances, explaining that
most of them could not be addressed at this stage but later when the
Technical Commission and other commissions began their work.
Almstrom urged that FRF stay in constant contact with MONUC, noting
that MONUC would act at once to reinforce its base in the
Banyamulenge area.

11. (SBU) Norbert Basengezi Katintima, a key leader of the Kivus
Conference and former governor of South Kivu who was accompanying
Kalume and Kamerhe on their earthquake trip, briefly stopped by
MONUC-Bukavu and told international facilitators that he anticipated
that Etumba would be appointed as the government's key figure on the
Technical Commission.

With CNDP in Goma

12. (SBU) At CNDP's request, Etumba met a CNDP military delegation
at MONUC headquarters in Goma on February 6. The delegation
included senior CNDP member Col. Moses Kambala (an English-speaking
Ugandan), military spokesman Major Seraphin Mirindi, and Captain B.
Masuzera (who had attended the meetings the previous week); no CNDP
political members were present. Mirindi presented at length the
CNDP's own organigram and proposal for representation on the
Technical Commission and its sub-commissions (reftel), which CNDP
had conveyed to FARDC and MONUC on February 3. Mirindi thanked
Etumba for having expeditiously ordered the release of two CNDP
members who had been arrested in Goma two days' previously.

13. (SBU) Etumba expressed perplexity at CNDP's organigram. He said
that CNDP had approved of his organigram and timetable at the
meeting on January 31 and now they seemed to be throwing everything
into question. He urged the CNDP to realize that these meetings
were only preliminary, with nothing set in concrete. On security,
he said that he was determined to address CNDP's concerns. He
admitted that there were "extremist elements" in the police and
military forces, but 8th Military Region commander Vaiqueur Mayala
(sitting beside him) would carry out his clear orders to curb such

KINSHASA 00000143 003 OF 004

14. (SBU) Mirindi said that CNDP had difficulty with the way in
which the government had proceeded, by not engaging CNDP in adequate
advance discussions. In particular, it objected to the issuance of
the presidential decree February 2 with no advance warning. The
CNDP representatives were only now receiving a hard copy, thanks to
the international facilitators. Mirindi said that when the CNDP had
met Kamerhe during the Kivus Conference, he had promised that the
structure, timetable, and decree would all be carefully discussed in
advance with CNDP. CNDP appreciated that Etumba was now
characterizing his timetable as "adaptable," which had not been the
case at first. Mirindi said that CNDP would need to have its
logistical needs taken care of.

15. (SBU) Etumba responded that the government had not given him any
wherewithal for such a purpose, but he promised "the means will be
there." (Note: Etumba evidently took for granted a willingness of
the international community to pay any costs. End note.) As for
CNDP's listing of positions to be filled by CNDP at the "cell" and
"sub-cell" levels, Etumba said such decisions would be made by the
Technical Commission once it was established. He emphasized that
decisions would be consensual, so it should not matter whether a
given party was outnumbered on any committee. Mirindi said that
consensuality was very important to the CNDP. Almstrom pointed out
that MONUC had its own misgivings about Etumba's proposed timetable
-- for example, it seemed very doubtful that 14,000 armed men could
be integrated into the army or reinserted into society, or even
depart for such integration or reinsertion, within 37 days. Singh
assured CNDP that MONUC's monitoring system would be immediately
reinforced with officers capable in French and Swahili, and urged
the importance of bringing all ceasefire violations immediately to
the attention of the MONUC focal point or nearest MONUC base.

16. (SBU) After a long break for internal discussion among the CNDP
delegation, Mirindi said that CNDP accepted both Etumba's organigram
and timetable, with the understanding that they were provisional.
He said that CNDP would have to ponder further the issue of
participants in committees. Security continued to be a serious
concern for CNDP, such that the CNDP delegation in Goma felt that it
would have to be continuously protected either by its own forces or
by MONUC. Etumba repeated that FARDC, under his strict orders,
would protect CNDP, with MONUC's help.

17. (SBU) Mirindi said that CNDP took strong exception to a recent
DRC-Ugandan communiqu which, he claimed, called for the elimination
of negative forces with specific mention of CNDP. Etumba said he
knew nothing about it, there had to be a misunderstanding, and in
any case, the work of the conference and Acte d'Engagement took
precedence over any possible mispronouncement in a communiqu.
Etumba's comment, however, appeared to mollify the CNDP

18. Note: The reference is possibly to a communique issued by the
Ugandan and Congolese defense ministers following a meeting the week
before in Beni. It alluded to negative forces but not to CNDP
specifically. Separately, Mgr. J. M. Runiga, who has acted as an
informal intermediary of Kabila's to Nkunda, also said that the CNDP
was quite angry about the DRC-Uganda communiqu. End note.

Meeting with North Kivu Mai Mai

19. (SBU) Prior to finally leaving Goma for Kinshasa midday February
7, Etumba convened the North Kivu Mai Mai groups at MONUC-Goma. The
Mai Mai were supposed to have returned to their home areas to
sensitize their cadres about the Acte, but were evidently hanging
around Goma to get the latest information and seeking an audience to
vent their mounting anger. Seven of eight North Kivu Mai Mai
signatories of the Acte were present. Etumba displayed less
patience than in previous meetings, but gave them the floor.

20. (SBU) Sounding a similar theme to that of the CNDP, the Mai Mai
representatives lamented that the presidential decree establishing
the "Peace Program" had not been discussed with them in advance.
Some of them had picked up a rumor that a new decree had been issued
in Kinshasa -- with equal lack of forewarning -- naming personnel to
specific posts in the "Peace Program," inluding the Mixed Technical
Commission for Peace and Security. (Note: MONUC/Goma had similar
infomation, but no specifics, while Etumba professed inorance of
any new decree.) The Mai Mai represetatives were particularly
upset that the decree ad awarded CNDP and FRF two delegates to the
Technical Commission but other signatory armed groups oly one --

* Missing Section 004 *