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Cablegate: Eastern Chad: Eufor Outpacing Minurcat, Improving Security

VZCZCXRO1080
RR RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHNJ #0108/01 0801643
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201643Z MAR 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6101
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 1659
RUEHGI/AMEMBASSY BANGUI 1481
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 0541
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0774

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NDJAMENA 000108

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

PARIS AND LONDON FOR AFRICA WATCHERS
DEPT FOR AF/C, AF/EX, PRM AND DS
USAID FOR OFDA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PREF PGOV ASEC CD SU
SUBJECT: EASTERN CHAD: EUFOR OUTPACING MINURCAT, IMPROVING SECURITY
IN CAMPS AND ABECHE

NDJAMENA 00000108 001.4 OF 002


1. SUMMARY. Despite earlier delays, the European Mission in
eastern Chad has now leapfrogged impressively ahead of the UN police
training mission which provides the raison d'etre for its presence.
Hopes are pinned on the recent arrival of UN Special Representative
Victor Angelo to speed up MINURCAT deployment. As elsewhere in Chad,
rumors of impending rebel movements (true or false) circulate
rapidly among a nervous population, but the EUFOR presence near
camps and in Abeche has already improved security for refugees and
humanitarian workers. As the rainy season draws near, continuing
problems in the Libya corridor have impacted refugee rations in the
east. End Summary.

EUFOR ANNOUNCES INITIAL OPERATING CAPABILITY
--------------------------------------------

2. (U) The European Mission in Chad and Central Africa (EUFOR)
announced initial Operating Capability on 17 March 2008. This date
kicks off their 12-month countdown to end of mission. EUFOR leaders
will conduct a mid-mission review in August 2008 to assess the
progression of the mission and discuss the possibility of a
"bridging" operation or follow-on force (possibly observers) after
their mandate expires.

3. (SBU) In meetings with the Ambassador and the DATT in Abeche on
March 18, EUFOR leaders articulated their mission as providing a
security umbrella for MINURCAT, IDP and refugee camps, as well as
the "war affected" population of eastern Chad. EUFOR leaders also
reiterated their authority to patrol 10 Km outside the camps and the
right of pursuit up to the Sudanese border, but not to maintain a
permanent presence along the border. Finally, EUFOR leaders
expressed a desire to move quickly in supporting relocation of
Chadian Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Dar Sila region
of Chad in order to reinforce their announcement of initial
operating capability and demonstrate their resolve.

4. (U) EUFOR deployment currently stands at 1790 with 1150 of those
deployed troops being of French origin. EUFOR expressed some
concern regarding the short term deployment of the Portuguese and
the Swedes who are due to depart in August. Several contributing
nations (Albania, Russia, Ukraine among those mentioned) have
committed to a deployment but have not finalized dates or number of
personnel and type of equipment. The lack of a multi-national
presence in Birao, Central African Republic (CAR) was mentioned as
an issue that needs to be addressed as this contingent is made up
exclusively of French soldiers and is not representative of the
coalition.

5. (SBU) Although EUFOR had a later start than MINURCAT due to
difficulties in mustering logistics support and troop commitments,
EUFOR is now significantly ahead of the UN Police training mission
in terms of readiness to perform the mission set out in UN Security
Resolution 1778. MINURCAT has been bogged down in negotiations with
the Government of Chad (GOC) over Chadian police stipends. In
additional, MINURCAT trainers are still waiting for the names of the
800 Chadian police and gendarmes who have been proposed by the GOC
for training. Once these names are provided, another month will go
by before the first tranche of police are trained, equipped and
ready to assume their duties protecting refugees, IDPs and
humanitarian workers.

CIVIL MILITARY RELATIONS
------------------------

6. (U) The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(UN OCHA) has moved smartly to address the frequently articulated
concerns of the humanitarian community vis a vis civil and military
relationships and the importance of maintaining the strict
neutrality of humanitarian assistance. OCHA has disseminated
"Civil-Military Guidelines and Reference for Complex Emergencies" -
the first collection of core humanitarian instruments produced by
the United Nations and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) on
this subject and bringing together the essential guidance materials
in order to assist humanitarian and military professionals to handle
civil-military issues in a manner that respects and reflects
humanitarian concerns at the strategic, operational and tactical
levels. OCHA will host a workshop on the guidelines in N'Djamena and
a more extensive two-day seminar on the guidelines April 2-3 in
Abeche. Members of diplomatic community are encouraged to attend
both events.

SECURITY IN ABECHE
------------------


NDJAMENA 00000108 002.2 OF 002


7. The EUFOR presence is transforming Abeche - a town already
noticeably populated by the offices and vehicles of western relief
workers. EUFOR and MINURCAT staff report that the town has been
quiet and generally safe for international staff. Despite rumors of
rebel movements, MINURCAT still considers banditry to be the largest
overall security threat facing people in Abeche and in eastern Chad
as a whole. The introduction of 24/7 EUFOR roving patrols in Abeche
shortly will provide an additional measure of security to the town.
As elsewhere in Chad, rumors of rebel movements (often false)
circulate rapidly among a panicky population, creating difficulties
for EUFOR and MINURCAT security advisors in separating fact from
fiction as they seek to assess the security situation outside of
Abeche.

HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN EASTERN CHAD
----------------------------------------

8. (SBU) Due to insufficient food stocks in eastern Chad, related to
continuing problems with the Libya corridor pipeline, WFP has had to
reduce the food ration for distribution to refugees from 2100 Kc to
1644 Kc for the month of March. This reduction in rations will
continue until the Libya corridor can be opened and WFP receives
sufficient food stocks for April/May distributions. USAID/OFDA/FFP
are working with WFP Chad and Rome to find solutions to the Libya
corridor problems and support sufficient prepositioning of food
stocks in eastern Chad prior to the rainy season.

9. (SBU) UNHCR has stated their logistics are insufficient to
transport the newly-arrived Sudanese refugees to the two camps
outside Guereda. Currently UNHCR has five trucks in position in the
east; they need at least 25 fully operational in order to move the
refugees to more secure locations in a timely manner. USAID/OFDA and
PRM are informed of the issue and PRM is in dialogue with UNHCR to
help find a solution to the logistics problem.

COMMENT
-------

10. (SBU) The EUFOR pace is impressive. Their presence near camps
and in Abeche has already improved security for refugees and
humanitarian workers. It is hard to overstate the logistical
difficulties that these operations face, given that Abeche is known
as the most landlocked destination anywhere in the world - and
probably the one with the poorest transport infrastructure.

11. (SBU) But the delay in MINURCAT deployment poses problems for
EUFOR, as EUFOR's raison d'etre is to provide force protection to
MINURCAT. Many hope that the recent arrival of the Special
Representative of the UN Secretary General, Victor Angelo, will give
a much-needed political push to discussions with the government on
what has become a battle of wills over compensation.

NIGRO

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