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Cablegate: "Every Man for Himself" - a Nyala Security Update

VZCZCXRO5843
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #0541/01 0990609
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 080609Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0499
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000541

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KPKO KSEC SOCI AU SU
SUBJECT: "EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF" - A NYALA SECURITY UPDATE

REF: KHARTOUM 503

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Discussions with United Nations and local
representatives in Nyala, South Darfur, reveal a complex picture of
security in this Darfur state, where attacks against humanitarians,
intertribal fighting and banditry constitute the main threats to
stability. END SUMMARY.

TARGETED ATTACKS AGAINST HUMANITARIANS
--------------------------------------
2. (SBU) In an April 6 meeting with Emboffs, United Nations Security
Information and Operation Center Manager Will Mulders described a
marked escalation in targeted attacks against humanitarian workers
that has changed the picture of relative calm that previously
characterized Nyala in comparison to West and North Darfur. He
noted that violence against humanitarian workers spiked during
March, with 20 incidents reported, compared to four in January and
five in February. [NOTE: South Darfur has seen a rash of
car-jackings on a scale similar to the instances of compound
invasions seen in El Fasher during March, where there were nine
break-ins in one week at the end of the month. END NOTE].

3. (SBU) Acting Head of UNAMID Civil Affairs Katherine Reyes told
Emboffs that the attempted car-jacking earlier in the week of a UNDP
vehicle in downtown Nyala as it transported staff home from the
office sent shockwaves through the humanitarian community, as it was
out of the ordinary for this city. NOTE: Two armed car-jackers
stopped the vehicle and demanded that the passengers get out. One
female passenger, in shock, was unable to comply and the car-jackers
beat her, dragged her from the car, and then proceeded to beat the
other passengers who had exited the vehicle. The car-jackers could
not manage to drive the vehicle, however, and they quickly abandoned
the scene on foot. Two UNDP officers were subsequently medically
evacuated to Khartoum. END NOTE].

4. (SBU) Neither Mulders nor Reyes could give a specific reason for
the increase in this type of violence in Nyala, but Reyes described
a level of unease and tension throughout the city and said there
seemed to be a trend toward "stepping on UNAMID's partners"
occurring, whether they be international or national NGOs and other
organizations. She added that tribal affiliations among the
national NGOs were now deeply scrutinized by the GOS authorities,
especially the HAC.

TRIBAL FIGHTING
---------------
5. (SBU) Mulders considered increased intertribal fighting to be the
second biggest threat to peace and security in Nyala. He recounted
incidents of fighting since January in the Bulbul areas
(approximately 23 km southwest of Nyala), where the Aballa Rizeigat
had attacked the Tarjem over a series of cattle-rustling disputes.
Both Arab tribes are pro-government and have provided fighters
(janjaweed) for government militias. Disputes related to the return
of the Tarjem to their land accounted for renewed fighting
instigated by the Rizeigat on March 31-April 1, which left 14
Rizeigat dead. Mulders noted that as of April 6, GoS authorities
had not permitted UNAMID into the area to investigate.

6. (SBU) Both Mulders and Reyes mentioned the insecurity caused in
the Buram locality of South Darfur as a result of persistent
fighting between the Habaniyya and the Salamat, also two rival Arab
tribes. On April 3, the Salamat looted 1000 cattle from the
Habaniya west of Buram. In what Mulders considered an unprecedented
response, the Habaniyya retaliated on April 4 with the support of
GoS police forces, which included six vehicles of up to 15 officers
each. Seven police were reportedly killed in this fighting, and
Khartoum police authorities have reportedly demanded a full
investigation into the incident. Mulders reported that Buram
authorities allegedly ordered the local police, all of the Habaniyya
tribe, to join in the fighting against the Salamat.

7. (SBU) Reyes also described simmering tensions between the Dadjo
and Fur tribes in Kalma IDP camp, which erupted in fighting inside
the camp in January, allegedly due to interference on the part of
Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) faction leader Abdulshafie, himself a
Fur. According to Reyes, Dadjo members led a coalition of
marginalized "minor" tribes in Kalma, a coalition that developed
after the expulsion of the Zaghawa by Fur in fall 2007 and in
response to Fur "domination" of the camp's population. Reyes said
the Dadjo have enjoyed on-again, off-again GoS support. According
to Bashir Muktar, the former Southern regional coordinator for SUDO
(a prominent Sudanese tribal reconciliation NGO) and currently the
lead engineer for the Nyala Water and Environmental Services
Corporation, the Dadjo are currently cooperating with the GoS and
reportedly have an agreement with government forces for their
protection against the majority Fur.


KHARTOUM 00000541 002 OF 002


BANDITRY AND REBEL ACTIVITY
---------------------------
8. (SBU) As in El Fasher/North Darfur, banditry remains a constant
problem in Nyala/South Darfur, according to UN interlocutors.
Mulders noted there had been more than 21 incidents of banditry in
South Darfur in the first quarter of 2008. He cited Tortahan,
northeast of Nyala, where the lack of law and order is so extreme
that he recommended a UNAMID company be redeployed there from its
base in Sarif Umra to try to keep the peace. During his two-day
visit to Tortahan, Mulders said there had been five security
incidents, each one involving a different player in the Darfur
conflict: the GoS, Darfur Peace Agreement non-signatory groups,
Zaghawa sub-tribes, and break-away factions of rebel/janjaweed
leader Hameti who has repeatedly threatened to break his ties with
the regime and join the rebels.

9. (SBU) Mulder said rebel activity in South Darfur is especially
heavy north of Kass, where SLA/Abdulwahid forces have been
car-jacking trucks and running them (with Justice and Equality
Movement [JEM] assistance) to Bahai on the northern part of the
Sudan-Chad border, where they are reportedly sold for $40,000 each
and taken to Libya. Regarding fighting between rival SLA factions
Free Will and Minni Minawi, Mulders reported the situation as
currently calm although there were reports of significant fighting
between the two groups in early March. Mulders said that SLA/Free
Will has few resources and is in desperate need of vehicles. He
reported allegations that the GoS is now arming Free Will, however.
This "divide and conquer" tactic on the part of the GoS has
infuriated SLA/Minni (who is himself part of the GoS), and Mulders
predicted this tension will lead to more fighting between the
factions in the near future.

10. (SBU) Both Reyes and Mulders noted that Arab tribal leader
Hameti is not as powerful now as he once was in South Darfur. The
Gos reportedly promised to integrate into the Sudanese Armed Forces
2500 of Hameti's fighters, 57 of whom were promised officer rank.
Reyes and Mulders claimed he had little credibility left with the
local populations for going back to the GoS but that the rebels,
particularly JEM and SLA/Abdulwahid, had not yet written him off.

COMMENT
-------
11. (SBU) While there is insecurity in both El Fasher and Nyala, one
difference between the two locations is the level of janjaweed
activity. UN interlocutors in Nyala noted the drop in the number of
South Darfur janjaweed attacks, while janjaweed activity is on the
rise in El Fasher (reftel). Another difference may possibly be seen
in the degree of command and control exercised by GoS police
authorities. El Fasher's police force follows Khartoum's dictates
closely. However the example Mulders cited about GoS police
complicity with the Habaniyya tribe against the Salamat - and the
subsequent inquiry from Khartoum headquarters - shows a possible
breakdown in the chain of command. The most significant aspect of
insecurity in South Darfur, however, is the increasing lawlessness
that is spread by rebel forces preying on humanitarian operations
and the anarchy of war and violence by all against all.

13. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.

FERNANDEZ

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