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Cablegate: Chad-Sudan Border Incidents; Humanitarian Aid Disrupted

VZCZCXRO8100
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0158 0340440
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 030440Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9861
INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0111
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000158

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, AF SE WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: CHAD-SUDAN BORDER INCIDENTS; HUMANITARIAN AID DISRUPTED

REFERENCE: (A) NDJAMENA 64

(B) KHARTOUM 64
(C) KHARTOUM 35
(D) KHARTOUM 150
1. (SBU) Summary: In response to Chadian military bombing along the
West Darfur border, Sudan has escalated its military response in the
area and the Sudanese Minister of Defense visited El Geneina with
senior SAF officers January 28. Humanitarian operations outside El
Geneina have been interrupted as the security situation
deteriorates, although the situation inside El Geneina is reportedly
calm. End summary.
2. (SBU) In response to recent Chadian bombing along the Sudan-Chad
border (and in some cases in West Darfur) Sudanese Minister of
Defense General Abd-al-Rahim Muhammad Husayn visited El-Geneina,
West Darfur, January 28 with a large group of senior SAF officers.
Husayn announced that Chadian aggression against Sudan was
unjustified and said Sudan is capable of repelling any aggression on
its border. Observers reported that Husayn visited Government of
Sudan (GOS) local security committees, local Arab community leaders,
and border patrol units reportedly to revive weakened links between
local groups and the GOS.
2. (SBU) On January 29 a number of independent sources reported
hearing helicopters and explosions in the vicinity of the Chad-Sudan
border near the town of Beida, located 100 kilometers southwest of
the West Darfur capital of El-Geneina. International NGO Tearfund
staff reported hearing an explosion at 2:50 AM on January 29,
followed by additional explosions several hours later on the Chadian
side of the border. In the wake of these events, Tearfund and the
international NGO Concern relocated 27 staff from the border towns
of Ararah, Beida, Masterie, and Kongo Haraza to El-Geneina as a
precaution. UNAMID transported the staff to El-Geneina without
incident the evening of January 29.
3. (SBU) Tearfund program coordinator told poloff on January 31 that
62,000 beneficiaries, mostly Internally Displaced Persons (IDP),
have been affected with reduced nutritional, health promotion, and
water and sanitation programming. He said that Tearfund would
decide within a few days whether to return. International NGO
Concern country director told poloff on January 30 that programs
operating north of El-Geneina (ref B) remain suspended with local
staff providing only essential nutritional services to the 160,000
affected beneficiaries. The country director said that he expected
UNAMID to provide an assessment of the security situation this
weekend but was pessimistic on restarting the program.
4. (SBU) Observers reported a number of Chadian other armed groups
(COAG) in the Chadian border town of Adre located 20 kilometers west
of El-Geneina and noted a number of explosions on the morning of
January 29. Across the border, El-Geneina commissioner Dr. Al-Watan
Fadlallah blamed a break away faction of the Justice and equality
Movement (JEM) for recent local attacks against the neighboring area
of Sirbe and noted the enhanced security by local and GOS forces.
Observers confirmed to embassy media reports that Sudanese Armed
Forces (SAF) recently reinforced El-Geneina and believe that the
town is safe from direct attack by either Sudanese or Chadian
rebels. A university professor in El-Geneina told poloff on January
30 that the town is peaceful and the citizens have no restrictions
on their movements.
5. (SBU) Comment: The humanitarian aid situation in the border areas
of West Darfur continues to deteriorate. In mid-January,
international NGO programs north of El-Geneina (ref B) were largely
suspended due to cross border incidents. Now, military actions have
caused humanitarian aid curtailment south of El-Geneina. Post
expects military actions on both sides to continue if not escalate,
unless of course the recent GOS-supported Chadian rebel surge toward
N'djamena is successful (ref D)).
FERNANDEZ

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