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Cablegate: Death of Un Darfur Peacekeeper

VZCZCXRO8726
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0837 1491311
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 291311Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7375
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0093

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000837

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND SHORTLEY

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPKO AU CD SU

SUBJECT: DEATH OF UN DARFUR PEACEKEEPER

REFTEL: IIR 6890 038407

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. The death of Lieutenant Colonel Ehab Nazih marks
the first death in Darfur of a United Nations peacekeeper. There is
no indication that the death was politically motivated, but the
incident underscores the increasing banditry and lawlessness on the
ground. Sudanese government, UNMIS and AMIS officials have committed
to improving security in the area. (Note: Further reporting provided
reftel. End note.) END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) On Friday May 25 at approximately 11:30 p.m., three young
males armed with AK-47s entered a residence of EU and UN officers in
El Fasher. LTC Ehab Nazih, a staff officer working for the Joint
Logistics Operations Center (JLOC), was shot in the course of the
robbery. Colonel Thinus Van Staden, chief of staff for the UN
Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), narrowly missed being shot as he exited
his room and surprised one of the assailants. He was able to take
cover in his room. The assailants took several hundred dollars in
cash, a few laptops, cellphones and Thurayas. Van Staden rendered
first aid to Nazih, then transported him to the African Union
Mission to Sudan (AMIS) hospital near the force headquarters, where
he died about an hour later.

3. (U) AMIS and UNMIS soldiers held a ceremony to pay tribute to
Nazih the following afternoon. Governor of North Darfur Yousef
Kibir, African Union Deputy Head of Mission Hassan Gibril and UNMIS
Coordinator Henry Anyidoho attended. Nazih's body was then flown to
Khartoum, where a similar ceremony was held at the airfield before
it was conveyed to his native Egypt. The Defense Attache paid
respects on behalf of Post.

-------------------
SECURITY OPERATIONS
-------------------

4. (SBU) Approximately sixty Sudanese government police and national
security personnel screened the neighborhood the day after the
shooting, looking for suspects. In a possibly related operation,
government forces surrounded the residence inhabited by armed
Sudanese Liberation Army/Minawi (SLA/M) soldiers, and witnesses said
they heard them demand to search the premises. The government
forces did not enter the building, however, and the standoff ended
peaceably an hour later. Comment: SLA/Minawi and GoS
representatives to the Ceasefire Commission denied any standoff,
claiming that the operation was directed toward another house in the
vicinity. End comment.

5. (SBU) On May 27, AMIS Deputy Force Commander Ephrem Rurangwa and
UNMIS Force Commander Jasbir Lidder expressed their grave concerns
over security to Governor Kibir, who promised to increase patrols in
the area around AMIS force headquarters. (Note: Lidder also informed
Kibir that he would delay further deployment of light support
package personnel until the new UNMIS residential compound in El
Fasher was completed. End note.) GoS police, AMIS and UN military
police are cooperating in the investigation. One suspect has been
apprehended but no further information is available pending the
completion of the investigation.

6. (SBU) Brigadier General Pierre Roques, Second Vice-Chair of the
Ceasefire Commission and the European Union observer, told Poloff
separately that unless AMIS conducted more robust patrols, which
would require that sixty additional AU soldiers be stationed at the
force headquarters, he would have no choice but to reduce the EU's
presence in Darfur. There are currently six EU officers operating in
the area.

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