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Cablegate: Clashes Continue, Idp Situation Worsens in Eastern

VZCZCXRO3732
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHNJ #0325/01 1030814
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 130814Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5146
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NDJAMENA 000325

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

KHARTOUM PLEASE PASS TO THE D DELEGATION

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREF PREL UNSC CD SU
SUBJECT: CLASHES CONTINUE, IDP SITUATION WORSENS IN EASTERN
CHAD

REF: A. NDJAMENA 324

B. IIR 6 910 0159 07
C. IIR 6 910 0157 07
D. IIR 6 910 0152 07

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Over the last two weeks the security and
humanitarian situation in eastern Chad has taken a dangerous
turn for the worse. The Dar Sila region near the border with
Sudan south of Abeche has been the scene of attacks by
janjaweed militias, an upsurge in new Internally Displaced
Persons (IDPs), clashes between Chadian army and rebel
forces, a Chadian army raid into Sudan, and a confrontation
between Chadian and Sudanese troops. Without concerted
efforts to ease tensions and restore security in the border
region, fighting between Chadian and Sudanese army and rebel
forces could escalate and violence against civilian
populations will worsen. END SUMMARY

2. (U) Recent events in the Dar Sila region near the border
with Sudan in southeastern Chad prompted a spate of inquiries
about what happened and why. This account seeks to piece
together what we know about the situation here.

----------------
Marena and Tiero
----------------

3. (U) The latest round of violence started in the early
morning hours on Saturday, March 31 when gangs on horses and
camels carrying guns attacked the villages of Marena and
Tiero and surrounding settlements. Self-defense militias
wielding spears were easily overwhelmed. Villages were
burned, houses destroyed, and many shot seeking to escape.
Clashes continued involving Sudanese and Chadian rebel
forces, reportedly using heavy weapons. Thousands of
villagers fled into the countryside. Latest estimates put
the death toll at as many as 400, but it is impossible to
arrive at a precise figure. Many bodies were hastily buried
in shallow graves and were still being retrieved a week
later.

4. (U) Over the next week survivors made their way to
Koukou Angarana, a small town that already hosted almost
20,000 Chadian IDPs as well as over 19,000 Sudanese refugees
at the nearby Goz Amir camp. By the time a group with
Congressman McGovern and the Ambassador visited the site on
April 7, 9,000 Chadians were there and flatbed trucks
operated by ICRC were arriving filled with more. Many women
and children were clustered around distribution stalls
receiving soap, plastic buckets, and soap or gathered in
shelters run by COOPI (an Italian NGO), Medecins Sans
Frontieres, and other NGO's providing vaccinations and
initial medical screenings.

5. (U) Asked to identify their attackers, the IDP's
referred to them simply as janjaweed, a term loosely applied
to militias largely (but not entirely) of Arab origin,
whether Sudanese or Chadian. Some admitted that they knew
some of the attackers from their villages. Asked why they
were attacked, the IDP's were unanimous in asserting that the
attackers wanted their land. No one could provide specific
information on the identity of the rebel groups that
reportedly joined in subsequent attacks, though Sudanese
rebel forces (known as toro boro in Chad) and the Concorde
Nationale Tchadienne (CNT), a Chadian rebel group under the
Arab commander Al-Djinedi, are known to be active in the area.

-------------------------
Amdjirema and For Baranga
-------------------------

6. (U) The Chadian army apparently stayed out of the fight
until Monday, April 9 when its units engaged in a firefight
with Chadian rebel forces with perhaps more than 200 vehicles
near the village of Amdjirema. According to the Chadian
government, not only were CNT forces involved, but also those
under Timan Erdimi and Mahamat Nouri. The two sides issued
conflicting statements blaming the other for initiating the
combat and claiming to have come out on top.

7. (U) In the end, the Chadian units pursued the rebel
forces, which reportedly included over 150 "technicals" and
eight armored vehicles. Crossing into Sudanese territory,
they inadvertently fell upon a Sudanese military position
near the border town of For Baranga, perhaps there to support
the retreating rebels. The Chadian forces pulled back but
not before killing 17 Sudanese soldiers and wounding 40
others, according to a Sudanese statement. Chadian
authorities expressed regret but justified the raid on the

NDJAMENA 00000325 002 OF 002


grounds that the Chadian army was exercising the right of
pursuit. In an attempt to prevent the tensions from heating
up further, Libyan special envoy Abdel Salim Triki met with
President Deby April 11 and claimed he secured Deby's support
for improving relations with Sudan. Deby reportedly also
agreed to visit Khartoum later this month.

-----------------
Stop the Violence
-----------------

8. (SBU) It is impossible, at least on this side of the
border, to ascertain the extent of any official Sudanese
involvement in either instigating the raid on Marena and
Tiero or arming the attackers. Nor is it possible to know
with precision Khartoum's role in supporting the Chadian
rebels in this incident. What is clear is that violence is
spreading and people are suffering. The clash between
Chadian and Sudanese soldiers adds a dangerous new variable
into the equation. Conditions have the potential to
deteriorate abruptly.

9. (SBU) The visit by the Deputy Secretary will provide the
opportunity to address the issue. The Chadians must show
restraint and stop supporting Sudanese armed rebels. They
must agree to the rapid deployment of a UN force with a
mandate to protect civilian populations and to deter the kind
of attacks that took place March 31 from happening again.

10. (U) Tripoli Minimize Considered
WALL

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