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Cablegate: Darfur Idps Protest Census in Abu Shouk Camp

VZCZCXRO9902
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0477 0920908
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 010908Z APR 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0356
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000477

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: DARFUR IDPs PROTEST CENSUS IN ABU SHOUK CAMP


1. (U) SUMMARY: Multiples sources confirmed to emboffs that
internally displaced persons in Abu Shouk camp near El-Fasher, North
Darfur organized a protest on March 31 in opposition to the upcoming
Sudanese census. Although protests are common in Darfur's many IDP
camps, this is the first protest directed specifically against the
census. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) On March 31, Rabie Bahar Ad-Din, grandson of Sultan Ali
Dinar and supporter and focal point of the Fur community called
emboff, stating that a large protest against the census was
occurring at the IDP camp of Abu Shouk. (Note: Abu Shouk is the
largest and closest IDP camp to North Darfur's capital of El Fasher
End Note.) EmbOff immediately called the United Nation's Department
of Safety and Security (UNDSS) duty officer who confirmed that a
protest was ongoing in Abu Shouk and that all UN and international
personnel were advised to stay away from the camp. The UNDSS
officer stated that "it appears as if almost the entire camp is
participating in the protest," and that Abu Shouk leaders
specifically instructed the UN to stay away from it.

3. (U) Ad-Din claimed that many different ethnicities were
represented at the protests, though the Fur were the overwhelming
majority. Meanwhile, Sajo estimated that around 35,000 IDPs
participated in the demonstration that started at International Red
Cross hospital at 9:30 and continued throughout the Abu Shouk camp,
ending at approximately 13:00. Both Sajo and UNDSS representatives
confirmed that the protests were non-violent.

4. (U) Sajo reported that the IDPs carried banners with the
following slogans: "IDPs should not be counted before they return
to their homelands;" "IDPS support Abdel Wahid's office in Israel as
it supports IDPs' concerns;" "We completely refuse the census;" "War
criminals should be brought to justice immediately;" "The Government
of Sudan should be serious in solving Darfur's problems;" and "The
IDPs request non-African protection forces for the IDP camps."

5. (U) On March 31, Rodolphe Adada, the Joint Special
Representative of UNAMID commented on the Abu Shouk protests during
a two-day conference in El-Fasher. Adada first announced that the
protests were ongoing, then added that these protests by the large
Fur population demonstrate the complexity of working in Darfur,
especially as the United Nations has directed UNAMID to work to
support the census.

6. (U) COMMENT: Demonstrations, marches, and protests are common
occurrences in Darfur's many IDP camps. However, the March 31
protests are particularly significant as they show the complex
dynamic between Darfur's ongoing crisis and the potential obstacle
that it presents to implementation of the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement. Although it cannot be determined at this time if Abdul
Wahid Al-Nur directed this protest, it is likely. (Fur leaders
appeared very skittish when asked about communication with Abdul
Wahid and his chain of command.) Nonetheless, all of our Fur
contacts in Darfur support Abdul Wahid to varying degrees, and even
if he did not directly order this protest, his opposition to the
census certainly would have contributed to the protest. We
anticipate there will be additional protests in the IDP camps as the
census approaches, and UNAMID will need to determine whether it is
safe to facilitate the census in the camps, or leave them out due to
security considertions.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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