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Cablegate: Three Police Officers Killed by Spla/Jiu Soldiers

VZCZCXRO8689
PP RUEHBC RUEHBZ RUEHDE RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHKUK RUEHMA RUEHMR
RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1727 3100559
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 060559Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9085
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001727

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR A/S FRAZER, S/E NATSIOS, AND AF/SPG
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO UN AU SU
SUBJECT: THREE POLICE OFFICERS KILLED BY SPLA/JIU SOLDIERS
IN YAMBIO, SOUTHERN SUDAN

1. According to several sources including UNMIS Police
reports, a group of six Joint Integrated Unit (JIU) soldiers
shot and killed three police officers in Yambio, the capital
of Western Equatoria State in Southern Sudan. Initial reports
indicate that three SSPS (Southern Sudan police) senior
officers were gunned down the evening of November 4, 2007 in
an inter-tribal squabble. The victims have been identified
as Maj. Joseph Eriminio, Lt. Col. Abbud, and acting state
commissioner Brig. Gen. Michael Setib. UNMIS police officers
witnessed the incident and filed "flash" reports after
fleeing the shoot-out. The slain policemen were reportedly
from the Azande tribe, while the JIU soldiers (provided to
the JIU by the SPLA) are reportedly Dinka.

2. The incident allegedly began after SSPS officers arrested
one or several JIU soldiers as part of an investigation into
the apparent murder of another JIU soldier whose body was
found November 3. On the evening of November 4, five JIU
soldiers entered the Yambio police headquarters and, after
quarreling with the SSPS officers, forcibly released their
comrade from jail. Some ten minutes later, the same six JIU
junior officers (all Dinkas) entered the police headquarters
again and shot the three police. The UNMIS report states
that the reason for the shooting appears to have been
dissatisfaction on the part of the JIU soldiers over not
having been informed that the murdered man was a fellow JIU
soldier, and over how the murder investigation was being
carried out.

3. Comment: According to their report, UNMIS police regard
the incident as serious but isolated. However, the incident
illustrates internal Southern fissures (in this case,
possibly tribal) that can easily escalate into violence in
volatile Southern Sudan. The lack of command and control in
the SPLA demonstrated in this case underlines the importance
of troop withdrawals and verifiable security arrangements
along the North-South border.
FERNANDEZ

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