Search

 

Cablegate: Clampdown On Chad's Independent Voices As Sudan

VZCZCXRO6182
RR RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHNJ #0039/01 0181408
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181408Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6017
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NDJAMENA 000039

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL CD SU
SUBJECT: CLAMPDOWN ON CHAD'S INDEPENDENT VOICES AS SUDAN
TAKES CENTER STAGE

REF: NDJAMENA 18

1. (SBU) Summary: The Government of Chad is ratchetting up
hostility against Sudan and displaying less tolerance for
criticism. Human rights activists have noted a deterioration
in the overall human rights situation: targets of the
clampdown include radio and print journalists, a human rights
activist and individuals suspected of collusion with rebels.
End Summary.

Vive le President and down with Sudan
-------------------------------------

2. (SBU) In tandem with the January 6 and 7 aerial bombing
against Chadian rebel targets in Sudanese territory (reftel),
the Government of Chad has launched a blitz of public
statements denouncing Sudanese aggression. At the
well-attended opening of the World Bank seminar on Chad's
Poverty Reduction Strategy on January 9, Prime Minister
Kassire compared President Bechir to the notorious 19th
century war-lord Rabah and accused him of being a modern day
slave-trader. The Government has also orchestrated a series
of rallies for members of civil society and students to
demonstrate popular support for President Deby and to
denounce the actions of the "mercenaries" recruited by Sudan
to overthrow the regime. A third rally is planned for the
coming weekend. The events have been peaceful, with reports
that a small stipend is offered to encourage participants to
attend. On January 11, members of the diplomatic corps and
about 400 of the Chadian "who's who" were summoned to the
Presidency to greet the President on the occasion of the New
Year. In his address, President Deby summarized his
administration's accomplishments in the economic and social
realm and accused President Bechir of trying to destroy Chad.
The President spoke standing up, but was visibly fatigued
and appeared to have some difficulty reading the text.

3. (SBU) Against these efforts to drum up support for the
President's actions against Sudan, the government's tolerance
for criticism appears to be diminishing. In mid-December,
Notre Temps Director Benoudjita Nodjikimo was detained for an
editorial in which he accused President Deby of human rights
abuses during the Habre regime. He was released but will face
charges. According to Jacqueline Moudeina of the Association
Tchadienne pour la Promotion et la Defense des Droits de
l'Homme (ATPDH), Nodjikimo was tortured during his detention.
Moudeina confided to PolOff that Nodjikimo and his family
might need to leave the country and requested USG assistance
with visas. On January 17, police raided the studio of
independent radio "FM Liberte," taking the Director into
custody and closing down the station. FM Liberte may have
crossed the line in airing interviews with students returning
from a government-organized rally in which the students asked
the President to stop the war and complained that they were
tired of the fighting. FM Liberte is a current recipient of
U.S. Embassy Democracy and Human Rights grants for human
rights broadcasts.

4. (SBU) On January 9, the government detained Deuzoumbe
Daniel, President of the prominent human rights association
"Human Rights Without Borders" for 24 hours. Human Rights
Without Borders had issued a press release calling attention
to the apparent disappearance of senior Ministry of Finance
official, Rozi Mamy, on December 31. According to rumors in
N'Djamena, Mamy (who resurfaced some 10 ays later) may have
fallen under suspicion for pssing satellite phone cards to a
relative in therebellion; Deuzombe's press release intimated
that he had been detained for implicating members of the
President's family in a corruption scheme. In a meeting with
DCM and PolOff prior to being summoned to the police station,
Deuzombe had called attention to the government's efforts to
clamp down on freedom of expression by using intimidation and
threats against human rights organizations and journalists.

5. (SBU) The aftermath of violent clashes between rebels and
government forces in November/December 2007 and its impact on
civil and political liberties is still being assessed.
Deuzombe has attempted to follow up on rumors of executions
of prisoners in N'Djamena but reported to DCM and PolOff that
he had nothing concrete. Both the ICRC and Deuzombe had
heard rumors of battlefield executions, but could not confirm
any names. The ICRC Country Director commented to DCM on
January 11 that the lack of information might be the result
of both sides having committed summary executions, and
therefore neither side being eager to come forward and
denounce the acts. His delegate in the border town of Adre
had reported that the bodies of some young men found outside
of town might be the result of army sweeps of suspected rebel
sympathizers. Both Human Rights Without Borders and the

NDJAMENA 00000039 002 OF 002


International Red Cross are keeping an eye on the situation
of the Sultan of Dar Tama who - along with some seven other
Guereda authorities -- had been relieved of his duties and
spirited to N'Djamena, presumably on suspicion of having
collaborated with FUC rebels in the November/December
fighting. The Sultan and his colleague are believed to be
unharmed, but have not been released or charged.

Comment:

6. (SBU) Many Chadians see the bellicose words as a
smoke-screen for what is essentially an inter-family dispute
that has its roots in Chad and will end in Chad. While the
tactics being used against the media, human rights
organizations and suspected rebels are not new or unusual,
the President's exclusive focus on striking back at the
rebels will clearly dominate government actions and decisions
for the near future.
NIGRO

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: