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CONFIDENTIAL (97070)
CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN (4678)
SECRET (11322)
SECRET//NOFORN (4330)
UNCLASSIFIED (75792)
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY (58095)
Reference ID 07KINSHASA926 (original text)
SubjectKABILA SECURITY ADVISER DIES UNEXPECTEDLY IN SOUTH
OriginEmbassy Kinshasa
ClassificationCONFIDENTIAL
ReleasedAug 30, 2011 01:44
CreatedAug 3, 2007 12:27
VZCZCXRO0536
PP RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0926/01 2151227
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031227Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6648
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000926 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/02/2010 
TAGS:        
SUBJECT: KABILA SECURITY ADVISER DIES UNEXPECTEDLY IN SOUTH 
AFRICA 
 
 
Classified By: PolCouns DBrown, reasons 1.4 b/d 
 
 1.  (C) Presidential adviser Samba Kaputo, a key figure in 
Kabila-era politics, died in Johannesburg August 1, 
reportedly of kidney failure.  He was Kabila's national 
security adviser during the Transition and a member of his 
trusted inner circle.  He had close connections with the 
military and intelligence hierarchies and was a noted 
hardliner on Kivu issues.  His death leaves a major gap at 
the Presidency and has generated furious speculation 
regarding possible replacements.  End summary. 
 
 2.  (SBU) Guillaume Samba Kaputo, President Kabila's de facto 
national security adviser, died unexpectedly August 1 in 
Johannesberg, South Africa, where he had been flown the day 
before for emergency medical treatment.  He was 61.  His 
death leaves Kabila without one of his most powerful and 
influential advisers and has set off intense speculation 
about who will fill the gap. 
 
 3.  (SBU) Prof Samba, as he was popularly known, was a former 
academic and Mobutu education minister who had become one of 
the Kabila era's key power-brokers.  He was a native of Moba 
in northern Katanga, Kabila's home region and that of many of 
his inner circle.  He was a hardliner often at odds with more 
moderate advisers.  However, he acted as Kabila's chief 
negotiator during the presidential campaign and served as 
presidential representative dealing with forces loyal to 
former Vice President Bemba in the wake of violent clashes 
last year. 
 
 4.  (U) Leaked information indicating the cause of death as 
kidney failure has appeared in the Kinshasa press.  An August 
2 account in the daily Le Palmares asserts Kaputo became 
noticeably ill on Sunday July 29, and was medevaced to 
Johannesburg on Kabila's plane late in the night of July 31, 
dying while undergoing treatment at approximately 1045 local 
time August 1. 
 
 5.  (SBU) Kaputo has long been diagnosed as diabetic, 
although he reportedly took care to monitor his condition and 
maintain a prescribed diet regimen.  Other members of the 
presidential staff have told us he had appeared increasingly 
fatigued in recent days, began missing appointments, and 
generally showed signs of growing health problems.  Foreign 
Minister Mbusa Nyamwisi reported that Kaputo's hands and 
wrists appeared swollen during recent meetings, a classic 
sign of kidney malfunction that can accompany diabetes. 
Kabila adviser Augustin Katumba indicated that by the 
weekend, it appeared Kaputo was not eating, and Katumba 
suggested that Kaputo had allowed his health to deteriorate 
too far before seeking medical help.  By Tuesday, July 31, an 
alarmed Kabila reportedly arranged for Kaputo to be 
transported to South Africa for medical treatment. 
Inevitably, however, rumors have already been circulating in 
Kinshasa of various versions of foul play involved in 
Kaputo's death.  An autopsy is being arranged in South Africa 
as a part of the effort to put such stories to rest. 
 
 6.  (SBU) Kaputo had officially resigned from his presidency 
functions when elected to the National Assembly in 2006 
elections, as required by the DRC constitution.  The 
presidency's official announcement of his death included news 
of a July 28 decree nominating him to the same national 
security position he had previously occupied.  He had 
recently resigned his Assembly seat to resume officially the 
national security position, although neither the July 28 
decree nor Kaputo's assembly resignation had been yet 
officially announced.  In fact, Kaputo had continued to act 
as a presidential adviser on an unofficial basis without 
interruption. 
 
 7.  (C) Presidential Political and Diplomatic Counselor 
Marcellin Cishambo told the Ambassador August 2 that Kaputo's 
widow was traveling immediately from the U.S., where she had 
been living, to South Africa.  Following the autopsy, she 
would accompany her late husband's body to Kinshasa, probably 
this weekend.  A funeral could be held as early as Monday, 
August 6, although arrangements have not yet been finalized. 
 
 8.  (C) Comment.  It is impossible at this point to say who 
may take Kaputo's place, but fallout from his death will 
continue to be felt for some time.  He had ties to many named 
to key positions in the recent military and intelligence 
reshuffle and was reportedly a major player in their 
nominations.  Their future influence is much harder to gauge 
 
KINSHASA 00000926  002 OF 002 
 
 
with their patron now out of the picture.  Kaputo was 
well-known as a hardliner generally, and specifically 
regarding issues related to Rwanda, and renegade General 
Nkunda.  It is too early to gauge, however, whether his 
absence will shift the general tenor and balance of sentiment 
within the presidency.  For now, the presidency operation, 
never particularly efficient, has effectively ground to a 
halt as President Kabila and the inner circle of advisers 
deal with the unexpected shock of Kaputo's death, and 
required funeral and other arrangements.  End comment. 
MEECE
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