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Cablegate: Darfur - Unofficial Settlements Near Sekele Present

VZCZCXRO6270
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0392/01 0761551
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161551Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0226
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0041
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0112
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS 0045
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0213

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 000392

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, PRM, AF SE WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SP, USAID/W DCHA SUDAN TEAM
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/REDSO, AND FAS
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
NAIROBI FOR SFO
NSC FOR PMARCHAM, MMAGAN, AND BPITTMAN
NEW YORK FOR FSHANKS
BRUSSELS FOR PBROWN
USMISSION UN ROME FOR RNEWBERG

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI UN SU
SUBJECT: DARFUR - UNOFFICIAL SETTLEMENTS NEAR SEKELE PRESENT
HUMANITARIAN CHALLENGES

REF: 07 KHARTOUM 1669

KHARTOUM 00000392 001.2 OF 003


1. (U) SUMMARY: New settlements near Sekele (near Nyala, South
Darfur) originated in October 2007 as a result of GNU HAC efforts to
relocate IDPs who fled Kalma camp following inter-tribal violence in
that camp. While the GNU HAC completed the resettlement process,
approximately 500 additional families temporarily settled in the
wadi (seasonal riverbed adjacent to the settlement site) hoping to
receive government assistance. The current estimated population of
the wadi settlement is approximately 2,000 households, and families
continue to arrive. The GNU HAC has not allowed humanitarian
agencies to provide assistance to the individuals living in the
wadi, asserting that the "wadi people" are not conflict affected
people and have only come to Sekele from Nyala town seeking free
services. Due to the current water, sanitation, and hygiene
conditions in the wadi, humanitarian agencies are concerned that the
upcoming rainy season will cause the wadi residents to be
particularly susceptible to disease outbreaks. Immediate action is
required on the part of the GNU HAC and the UN to agree on a way
forward in dealing with the wadi residents. End summary.

----------
BACKGROUND
----------

2. (U) As part of what is perceived by many in the international
community to be a GNU strategy to draw people out of IDP camps, the
GNU HAC dedicated land in South Darfur for settlement areas. In
October 2007, the Governor of South Darfur announced plans to divide
Kalma IDP camp into nine smaller settlements near Nyala town, South
Darfur. The first area settled was located at Block 21 south of
Nyala town. Relief agencies use several names for the site,
including Sekele resettlement, Sekele New, and Sekele South, to
differentiate the new settlement location from Sekele Old Camp.
Located 2-3 km north of the new Sekele settlement site, Sekele Old
Camp was established in 2004 and currently houses approximately
5,133 IDPs. Sekele New settlement originated in October 2007 when
the GNU HAC relocated IDPs who fled Kalma camp to the location.
From October 26 to 28, 2007, the Government of National Unity (GNU)
Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) resettled approximately 560
households from Majok village in South Darfur into Sekele New
settlement. The internally displaced persons (IDPs) had fled to
Majok village after fighting in Kalma IDP camp from October 16 to 18
between different camp factions drove them out of Kalma.

-------------------------
OFFICIALLY RESETTLED IDPS
-------------------------

3. (U) The GNU HAC has provided land and services, including
education, health, and water, sanitation, and hygiene, to
approximately 560 former Kalma IDP households officially settled in
Sekele New. In October 2007, Medecins Sans Frontieres Netherlands
(MSF/H) and several other relief agencies began providing residents
of Sekele New with humanitarian assistance, including a
MSF/H-established health clinic. MSF/H plans to withdraw from the
site by the end of March 2008, as emergency needs following the
Kalma relocation have subsided.

4. (SBU) After a site assessment of Sekele New in late October, the
International Migration Organization (IOM) determined that the IDPs
that the GNU HAC relocated to Sekele on February 26 to 28 did not
move voluntarily. This can be attributed to GNU efforts to divide
Kalma camp but also to the inter-tribal fighting that occurred in
the camp. It is still unclear whether the GNU HAC informed the IDPs
who resettled in Sekele that having a resettled status disqualifies
them from receiving humanitarian assistance, negates any rights IDPs
have to return to original locations, and prevents the IDPs from
receiving compensation in accordance with the Darfur Peace Agreement
(DPA).


KHARTOUM 00000392 002.2 OF 003


-------------------------------------
INFORMAL WADI SETTLEMENTS NEAR SEKELE
-------------------------------------

5. (SBU) While the GNU HAC was resettling the 560 households into
Sekele camp, a group of approximately 500 families temporarily moved
into the wadi adjacent to the settlement site, hoping to receive
government assistance. On November 10 and 11, 2007, Sudanese
government National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS)
officials destroyed the informal settlement and forced all of the
families to leave. On November 10, the GNU HAC and NISS denied the
International Organization for Migration (IOM) and other
humanitarian agencies access to the Sekele settlement. IOM has a
standing Memorandum of Understanding with the GoS allowing IOM full
access to IDPs and further acknowledges IOMs approved mandate to
verify the voluntary and appropriate nature of population movement.
MSF/H wrote several letters to the GNU HAC and the governor's office
condemning the dismantling of the informal settlement. According to
MSF/H, the families left for approximately one week and then
returned to the wadi near Sekele.

6. (U) Many other individuals from the Burum, Tulus, and Ed Al
Fursan areas of South Darfur have spontaneously arrived at the
settlement site. MSF/H reported multiple reasons behind the
movement to the wadi, including GNU HAC's refusal to register new
IDPs in nearby Al Salam camp or other camps, food insecurity in
villages of origin, recent clashes in Buram, and rumors of free land
distribution for IDPs. On February 13, trucks carrying
approximately 100 individuals, primarily women and children, were
turned away from Al Salam camp. On February 14, local officials at
the Sekele New relocation site turned away a vehicle suspected to be
the same truck that sought entry to Al Salam. The following day a
truck offloaded an undetermined number of people into the wadi
adjacent to the Sekele settlement. In February 2008, the estimated
population of wadi residents near Sekele settlement was 2,000
households. From February 25 to March 2, MSF/H reported the arrival
of 70 new households.

7. (SBU) The GNU HAC has repeatedly refused to recognize the
wadi-dwellers as IDPs and asserts that the individuals are just poor
people from Nyala town and have come to Sekele to collect free
services. The GNU HAC has not allowed humanitarian agencies to
provide assistance to populations living in the wadi. MSF/H has
trucked in water and provided mats for emergency shelter in the
unofficial settlement, however. The wadi-dwellers are able to
access the MSF/H clinic in Sekele, which currently services both the
resettled IDPs in the Sekele settlement and surrounding community
residents. Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) provided relief commodities
for the wadi residents, but the humanitarian community is not
currently providing food assistance. MSF/H reports that most of the
people living in the wadi travel to Nyala town each day to find work
in order to buy food. According to MSF/H, the nutritional status of
the wadi residents is stable, but increasing cases of diarrhea have
occurred among the wadi-dwellers in January and February 2008, as no
clean water and sanitation facilities are available.

---------------
FUTURE CONCERNS
---------------
8. (U) The upcoming rainy season will cause the wadi people near
Sekele settlement to be particularly susceptible to disease
outbreaks, due to the current water, sanitation, and hygiene
conditions in the wadi. MSF/H reports open defecation in the wadi
area and noted concerns that a possible disease outbreak in the wadi
could spread to Nyala town.

9. (SBU) While the emergency needs of the officially resettled IDPs
in Sekele New have lessened since Sekele New's establishment in
October 2007, the needs of the wadi residents surrounding Sekele
settlement remain. If MSF/H ceases relief operations in Sekele by
the end of March as planned, the situation of the wadi settlement

KHARTOUM 00000392 003.2 OF 003


could become increasingly precarious. Questions regarding the
voluntary nature of the GNU HAC's official settlement of Sekele and
the future status of the resettled IDPs also present potential
humanitarian consequences.

10. (SBU) MSF/H has approached the U.N. Office for the Coordination
of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF)
to elicit U.N. engagement and assistance for the wadi people. Since
late November 2007, U.N. partners have discussed the humanitarian
situation of the wadi people with GNU HAC officials multiple times,
but the GNU HAC continues to insist that NGO partners conduct
further assessments of the population, delaying a decision on the
wadi dwellers' official status. The NGO assessments conducted to
date reveal humanitarian needs, such as appropriate shelter and
water, sanitation, and hygiene services. In early November, the
International Rescue Committee (IRC) proposed to respond to the
water, sanitation, and hygiene needs of the wadi settlers, but the
GNU HAC denied IRC permission to conduct an assessment of the wadi
and refused to allow IRC staff to interview Sekele IDP leaders,
insisting that the wadi-dwellers are squatters from Nyala town and
therefore ineligible for humanitarian assistance. The GNU HAC
contends that the potential of relief assistance continues to draw
the "wadi people" to Sekele and that the population will leave if
the provision of humanitarian aid ceases. The upcoming rainy
season will force the population living in the wadi to relocate and
disperse into the surrounding areas, where the group's humanitarian
needs will be less visible.

11. (U) The situation in Al Salam IDP camp, also near Nyala town, is
similar to that of the Sekele settlement. The GNU HAC closed Al
Salam camp on February 13 and began turning away all newly arrived
IDPs. Al Salam was the only remaining camp open to new arrivals
before the February 13 closure. IDPs who arrived between February
10 and 13 remain unregistered, and IDP leaders in Al Salam camp
estimate that 1,700 unregistered households are living in Al Salam
camp. Tensions remain high in Al Salam, with GNU HAC officials
forbidding relief workers from assisting all unregistered new
arrivals. Since February 13, some of the IDPs turned away from Al
Salam Camp have settled in the Sekele wadi.

-----------
CONCLUSIONS
-----------

12. (SBU) The GNU HAC prefers that relief agencies provide
assistance to beneficiaries in the villages of origin or at returnee
sites, but has yet to provide a solution for IDPs who have already
migrated to informal settlements like Sekele. USAID FieldOffs will
continue to work with the humanitarian community and the HAC in
South Darfur to find a viable solution to the situation in Sekele
before the rainy season presents further health and sanitation risks
to the wadi people and surrounding areas. USAID FieldOffs will seek
to obtain approval from the HAC to allow NGOs to provide assistance
to the wadi people and/or approval to move the wadi people to an
already existing camp in Nyala in order that they might receive food
and non-food assistance.

FERNANDEZ

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