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Cablegate: Unamid Officer Arrested in Nyala for Alleged Sexual

VZCZCXRO2772
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0610/01 1111413
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201413Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0604
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0168
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0032
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000610

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 PHUM SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: UNAMID OFFICER ARRESTED IN NYALA FOR ALLEGED SEXUAL
MISCONDUCT


1. (SBU) Summary: In the wake of the April 13 arrest without warrant
of a UNAMID staff officer for alleged sexual misconduct, and
subsequent reports that the South Darfur Wali banned UNAMID soldiers
from downtown Nyala, UNAMID tempered its reaction to this apparent
SOFA violation to emphasize that UNAMID tolerates no sexual
misconduct. Although Khartoum media claimed that there is widespread
use of alcohol and sexual harassment by UNAMID personnel, UNAMID
officials say that no GOS officials in Darfur have openly made these
claims. End Summary.

UNAMID COUNTERS SOUTH DARFUR GOVERNMENT DEMANDS
---------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) In the wake of an April 13 arrest by South Darfur security
authorities of a UNAMID staff officer for alleged sexual misconduct
involving a locally-hired female housekeeper, UNAMID sent a
delegation on April 17 to meet with South Darfur officials. Deputy
Joint Special Representative (DJSR) Henry Anyidoho led the
delegation to meet Deputy Wali Abdul Raheim Abul Risha and Minister
of State Affairs Omar Abdul Jabbar.

3. (SBU) UNAMID OIC Wariara Mbugua told poloff that the Deputy Wali
made several demands to UNAMID at the April 17 meeting: that UNAMID
not hire local residents as housekeepers; that UNAMID not rent from
local landlords; and that UNAMID soldiers not travel to downtown
Nyala. According to Mbugua, DJSR Henry refuted each demand and
pointed out that provisions of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)
between UNAMID and the GOS permits unrestricted access of UNAMID and
that house rentals and hiring of domestic staff are contracts
between individuals (NOTE: Paragraph 12 of the SOFA stipulates that
"UNAMID. . . shall enjoy full and unrestricted freedom of movement
without delay throughout Darfur and other areas of Sudan where
UNAMID is operating in accordance with its mandate by the most
direct route possible. . ." Paragraph 34 addresses "Entry,
residence and departure" and states "The Joint Special
Representative and members of UNAMID shall, whenever so required by
the Joint Special Representative, have the right to enter into,
reside in and depart from Sudan. END NOTE.)

TEMPERED UNAMID RESPONSE ON SOFA VIOLATION
------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Asked why UNAMID appears to be acting tentatively on this
alleged case of sexual misconduct, UNAMID Deputy Spokesmen Ali
Hamati told poloff on April 17 that UNAMID deliberately downplayed
SOFA issues in its first April 15 press statement, preferring to
focus on UN policy that there is zero tolerance for sexual
misconduct and that a full investigation will be conducted. He said
that once UNAMID gets its point across to the public that UNAMID
tolerates no act of sexual misconduct, UNAMID will more forcefully
respond to SOFA implications.

5. (SBU) Hamati said the charges appear to be fabricated, explaining
that the female, who worked as a domestic, told UNAMID that Sudanese
police forced her to say that they had a relationship. Hamati
speculated that neighbors might have coveted the housekeeper's job
and complained about the UNAMID staff officer or housekeeper which
led security forces to enter the officer's home without a warrant to
arrest him. Hamati said that UNAMID cooperated with a police request
for medical tests which he said were negative; he did not specify
the nature of the tests performed. Hamati added that the accused
individual has been returned to his UNAMID unit, which Hamati
emphasized is in keeping with the SOFA. Separately, UNAMID Military
Legal Officer Colonel Quereshi said that in the preliminary inquest
on April 17, the judge agreed that the legal process should be
conducted in accordance with the SOFA.

UNAMID CAUTIOUS ON MEDIA REPORTS OF ADDITIONAL ABUSE
--------------------------------------------- -------

6. (SBU) Asked about additional media reports of alleged widespread
UNAMID alcohol use and sexual harassment, Hamati speculated that
public demonstrations and the government's list of demands could
possibly be a ploy to pressure UNAMID to reach a monetary settlement
with South Darfur government or representatives. He added that if
there were additional reports of alcohol abuse or sexual harassment,
the reports certainly would have surfaced by now with their meetings
with government officials. Hamati noted that the State Minister of
State Affairs Jabbar, an NCP member, seems to be leading the effort
in this matter with the South Darfur leadership taking a backseat.
7. (SBU) A Joint Military Analysis Cell (JMAC) officer responded to
the same question saying that allegations like this were not
isolated incidents, but did not provide further detail (PAE told CDA
Fernandez in 2007 that a leading cause of clogged toilets in AMIS
camps is used condoms and rumors of - imported - prostitutes in

KHARTOUM 00000610 002 OF 002


Darfur surface periodically). Separately, UNAMID Senior Legal
Advisor Kanda Karthigesu told poloff that the investigation into the
immediate case is continuing and any speculation, including that by
the media, would be counterproductive. When asked about Khartoum
and international media reports of possible widespread UNAMID
alcohol use and sexual harassment, OIC Mbugua expressed surprise and
said that she had not heard of any reports.
8. (SBU) UNAMID military officers told poloff on April 20 that
UNAMID soldiers are free to move around downtown Nyala, despite
media headlines to the contrary. [NOTE: Under the administration of
former South Darfur Wali and NCP hardliner Al-Haj Atta Al-Mannan,
AMIS soldiers were restricted to traveling in small groups within
the downtown market area. Wali Ali Mahmoud changed this practice
when he became Wali in July, 7th 2007, permitting AMIS, and now
UNAMID soldiers, wider access to Nyala's downtown market. END
NOTE]

9. (SBU) Comment: In this case UNAMID was right to send a strong
message indicating zero-tolerance of alcohol abuse and sexual
misconduct. Post does not minimize the issue of the Sudanese
authorities threatening to violate the SOFA (by restricting rental
properties, etc). However, given the serious public relations
issues involved with an allegation of sexual misconduct in a
traditionally Muslim community, UNAMID's response - to work through
the PR issues first and address the SOFA issues later - is the right
approach. It's also too early to tell whether the GOS will follow
through on the threats it has made regarding the hiring of local
staff and renting of houses but it clearly is an opportunity for
them to keep UNAMID off-balance while sullying their image.

10. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.

FERNANDEZ

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