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Cablegate: Chad: Mixed Signals On Godbold Case

VZCZCXRO7456
RR RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNJ #0886 3191550
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 151550Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5889
INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1754
RUEHNM/AMEMBASSY NIAMEY 3015
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2276
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 0110
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 0445

UNCLAS NDJAMENA 000886

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

RABAT FOR LEGATT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC PTER CD LY
SUBJECT: CHAD: MIXED SIGNALS ON GODBOLD CASE

REF: NDJAMENA 856

1. (SBU) Summary: Despite indications that he might be
released shortly, seized American missionary Steve Godbold is
still in the hands of MDJT rebels in the Tibesti region of
Chad. End summary.

2. (SBU) On November 8 the Al-Wihda website announced that
the MDJT splinter group claiming to hold seized Amcit Steve
Godbold had posted a message stating that they intended to
release Godbold in the coming days. At a meeting with Deputy
Interior Minister Djasnabaille the same day, Djasnabaille
informed Charge that he was under the impression that Godbold
would soon be released based on an unexpected phone call from
MDJT leader Choa Dazi the night before. (Note: As a former
member of the opposition, Djasnabaille explained that he
previously had contact with Dazi. End not).

2. (SBU) Subsequently, however, phone contact with Choa
Dazi dropped. The Red Cross has not heard from him, and
Godbold's missionary colleagues in N'Djamena have been told
that Dazi's Libyan cell phone is no longer being used.
Godbold's colleagues do not have any first hand information,
but they speculate that Dazi himself may no longer be calling
the shots, and that the small group of MDJT rebels holding
Godbold deep in the Tibesti are now the lead actors in
determining Godbold's fate. If this is the case, Godbold's
colleagues believe that these individuals are primarily
interested in a ransom. They have also heard through
intermediaries that Godbold is depressed and is not eating.
If there are no new developments, TEAM (the Evangelical
Alliance Mission) may request Red Cross (ICRC) assistance in
monitoring Godbold's state of health (if the hostage takers
permit).


3. (SBU)In a meeting with TEAM members on November 14 we
discussed the possible role of Libya in Dazi's apparent
change of heart. TEAM members had heard that the quote
American request to Libyan authorities for assistance end
quote may have spooked Dazi. Charge clarified that we had
asked Libyan authorities for information, not assistance and
that nothing had been reported back to N'Djamena. TEAM
members also informed us that Dazi and possibly others in the
group are dual nationals holding French passports.

4. (SBU) Godbold's local organization is being assisted by a
representative from Crisis Consulting International (CCI),
Bob Klamser, scheduled to arrive in Chad on November 15.
Charge, RSO and DATT will meet with TEAM and Klamser on
November 16. Charge will request a meeting with GOC
authorities for an update on the situation and report on any
new developments.

Comment

5. (SBU) Quiet pressure by the Tubu community continues to
be seen as the best way to advance Godbold's release,
although the MDJT rebels holding him are described as
renegades who are less susceptible to community pressure.

6. Minimized considered.
TAMLYN

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