Cablegate: Private Oil Field Security Tied to Niss, Says Al-Jaz At
DE RUEHKH #1177/01 2101424
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291424Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8023
UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001177
DEPT FOR AF/SPG, SE NATSIOS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PBTS PGOV MARR MOPS SU
SUBJECT: PRIVATE OIL FIELD SECURITY TIED TO NISS, SAYS AL-JAZ AT
SPECIAL AEC SESSION
REF: KHARTOUM 1138
1. (SBU) SUMMARY AND COMMENT: A July 28 Assessment and Evaluation
Commission (AEC) special session on the oil sector revealed new
information on the sensitive subject of oil field security. The
session featured a presentation by and dialogue with the Minister of
Energy and Mining, Mr. Awad Al-Jaz. The Minister deflected
questions about further redeployments of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF)
from oil fields, contending that a threat to the oil fields exists -
one contained by private security companies' close collaboration
with the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services
(NISS). Representatives from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement
(SPLM) expressed concern about delays in redeployment from oil
fields and asserted that private security forces with ties to NISS
are essentially a militia controlled by the government. These
concerns follow only one week after an AEC plenary which raised
similar concerns about delays in SAF redeployment (reftel) from
southern oil fields. Al-Jaz's frank admission of NISS's connection
to private oil security forces raises more questions and adds
another layer of complexity to an already contentious issue. END
SUMMARY AND COMMENT.
2. This July 28 meeting was the first time that Al-Jaz appeared at
an AEC meeting, having turned down many previous offers to present.
Although oil field security was one of the main themes of the
meeting, Al Jaz further discussed community development initiatives
in oil blocks, the environmental impact of the industry, and recent
developments in the National Petroleum Commission. The draft
minutes and copy of Al-Jaz's automated PowerPoint slideshow with
recorded voice annotation will be sent to the Sudan Programs Group.
3. (U) After Al-Jaz's presentation, SPLM representatives quickly
inquired about a number of issues including the remaining presence
of some 3,600 SAF troops in southern oil fields. They also inquired
about the existence of a special division of the police assigned to
oil fields in the south. With respect to both of these issues, the
SPLM representatives asked, "Is there really a threat to the oil
fields in the south?"
"THERE IS A THREAT TO THE OIL FIELDS"
4. (U) Responding to this question, Mr. Jaz quickly replied that a
threat to oil fields does exist. He stated that the threat is not
from armies, but from disgruntled individuals who have very high
expectations. He acknowledged rumors about an oil security force
often referred to as "Awad Al-Jaz's Police," but denied the
existence of any such force. He then stated that many people have
confused the private security forces of oil companies as a new
government entity. (NOTE: In AEC Wealth-Sharing Working Group
meetings on oil and the environment held in April and May, NCP
representatives acknowledged the creation of a new "petroleum police
force" of 800 police attached to the Ministry of Energy and Mines
and currently deployed within the oil field areas. Al-Jaz's remarks
conflict with these earlier statements. END NOTE.)
PRIVATE SECURITY FORCES HAVE TIES TO NISS
5. (U) After learning of the existence of these private security
forces, international members of the AEC further inquired how these
private companies hire individuals for their security forces. CDA
Fernandez asked whether these private companies hire local people,
or whether applicants come from a specifically designated pool
approved by the government. The Minister of Energy and Mining, Mr.
Jaz, responded that the companies must "refer back" to the National
Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) for their security
personnel and clarified that while companies have their own criteria
for hiring, the companies must select their employees from
individuals designated by NISS. Mr. Jaz did not elaborate about the
actual screening, training, or ongoing support that these
individuals receive from NISS.
6. (U) SPLM representatives voiced concern about companies
employing people from NISS "who may be better armed than the army
itself." They called this a serious matter and said that these
private security personnel may be considered a militia. Mr. Jaz
rejected claims that the private security forces are a militia or
better trained and equipped than the army. He stated that these
forces do not have tanks or heavy weaponry.
7. (U) Throughout most of the presentation, Albino Akol Akol, the
Minister of Industry and Mining of the Government of Southern Sudan,
defended the National Petroleum Commission that he was officially
representing at this meeting. However, on the point of these
private forces, Akol stated that "that some security companies are
taking the law into their own hands," and added that the joint
integrated forces need to take the lead.
8. (U) The SPLM representatives also inquired why there is not
more money available for development and salaries in the south, when
the volume of oil production is up and the price of oil has risen.
They then stated that that the Ministry of Defense and the NISS are
the only two ministries that do not seem to complain about a
shortage of funding. They added that the CPA is very clear about
control of the oil fields, and that protecting oil areas is the
responsibility of only the SAF, SPLA, and JIU troops, and not
private security forces.
9. (U) After the meeting, one of the SPLM participants noted to
PolOff that redeployment from the oil fields is one of the most
specific, tangible, and measurable actions mandated by the CPA.
This contact further questioned, "If agreement on oil field security
cannot be reached, how can we work together on the more complex
issues of the CPA?"
10. (U) Mr. Jaz has been the Minister of Energy and Mining since
1996. He is from Merowe in North Sudan, and graduated from the
University of Khartoum. He was appointed the Minister of Internal
Trade in 1990 and later a Cabinet Affairs Minister on the Council of
Ministers in 1994. He was one of the early proponents of the NIF
and rarely meets with U.S. officials.