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Cablegate: Chad Rebel Incursion Moves Westward

VZCZCXRO5213
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHNJ #0064 0301752
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 301752Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6039
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBP/AMEMBASSY BAMAKO PRIORITY 0891
RUEHGI/AMEMBASSY BANGUI PRIORITY 1467
RUEHNM/AMEMBASSY NIAMEY PRIORITY 3035
RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT PRIORITY 0155
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE PRIORITY 1645
RUSNNOT/SOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

UNCLAS NDJAMENA 000064

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR OPS, AF/C, DS AND CA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL PINR CASC MOPS SU CD PINS ASEC
SUBJECT: CHAD REBEL INCURSION MOVES WESTWARD

REF: NDJAMENA 0063

1. (SBU) Summary: Chad rebels have moved across the border,
bypassed Abeche and are reported to be holding in the Am Dam
area southwest of Abeche. There has been no major
confrontation with the government, other than aerial bombing
by the government on January 28th. The government has moved
to fortify positions around N'Djamena as well as moving out a
considerable number of troops eastward. Esso and the UN are
operating normally and have not changed their security
posture vis a vis dependents and non-essential personnel but
continue to review their posture. The Embassy EAC met
(reftel) to examine the Embassy security posture. A Town Hall
for employees and family members reviewed emergency
preparedness measures. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The Chadian rebel cross-border incursion that
started on Monday appears to have bypassed Abeche and moved
to the Am Dam/Oum Hadjer area. UN sources counted more than
200 rebel vehicles in one column. As of January 30, rumors
of movement as far as Mongo did not appear to be
substantiated. The Chadian army is reported to have pulled
out of the border town of Goz Beida, presumably in pursuit of
the columns. In N'Djamena, tanks and armored cars have been
stationed at roads leading into the capitol (note: this is
routine procedure during threats of rebel movements. End
note). The President is expected to attend the AU summit,
but we do not have confirmation of his movements. As in
previous episodes, it is expected that he will head to the
front to personally command any upcoming battles.

3. (SBU) The UN, other international organizations and the
Exxon-Mobil led oil consortium are currently operating
normally but are reviewing their security posture. UN
flights continue to Abeche, although movement out of Abeche
by humanitarians has been temporarily stopped. Businesses
and government offices in N'Djamena are operating normally,
although the troop build-up and movement is evident in the
number of convoys of armed Toyota trucks in the streets. The
French Embassy has instructed French citizens in Abeche to
stay within the city.

4. (SBU) Although the Government remains silent on the
situation, on January 29, the Minister of Communication made
a statement on Chad's government-controlled national radio
network stressing that Chad cannot have peace while the
Sudanese Government continues to send "mercenaries" across
the border. This statement on Chad-Sudanese relations came on
the heels of a precipitous President Deby departure from the
January 28 Tripoli conference, where sources have claimed
that Deby left after sharp criticism from President Kaddafi
and others concerning the deployment of EUFOR on Chadian soil.

5. (SBU) Post has accounted for all personnel in the field.
USAID/OFDA Kirsti Lattu is on standfast at the WFP guest
house in Abeche. After first requesting the Defense Attache
to withdraw the JCET training and MEDCAP exercise in Moussoro
(north of N'Djamena) for security reasons, senior officials
at the Minister of Health and Minister of Defense changed
course and assured the Defense Attache that "there would be
no rebel activity threatening Moussoro and that the JCET and
accompanying MEDCAP should be permitted to continue."

Embassy N'Djamena actions:
-------------------------

6. (SBU) Embassy N'Djamena continues to be concerned of
reports of military movements in the east as the political --
and therefore the security -- situation in Chad remains
tenuous. We have responded to the current uncertain security
situation by: sending an additional warden message; holding a
Town Hall meeting for Embassy employees and family members;
convening a Emergency Action Committee; and coordinating
closely with French, UN, NGOs and ESSO.

NIGRO

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