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Cablegate: Goss Gives Juba Security Update

VZCZCXRO5650
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0623/01 1141247
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231247Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0629
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000623

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC CASC SU
SUBJECT: GOSS GIVES JUBA SECURITY UPDATE


1. (SBU) Summary: On the afternoon of April 21 the GOSS assembled
the Diplomatic and NGO community for a briefing on what steps it is
taking to combat the recent rash of armed robberies targeting
foreigners and NGOs in Juba. Actions to be taken include putting
more police out on the streets, starting night patrols, creation of
a rapid response force to come to the aid of those being robbed,
increased investment in communications equipment, the creation of a
committee to coordinate actions among all security forces,
identifying critical areas in Juba to watch, the relocation of all
SPLA forces outside of Juba, and the curtailment of the movement of
SPLA forces at night except for those on patrol. End Summary

2. (SBU) The Ministers of Regional Cooperation, Internal Affairs and
Information and Broadcasting met with the international community in
Juba on Monday afternoon to address concerns related to a recent
surge in crime directed against foreigners and INGOs. The Interior
Minister opened the meeting by explaining that from 2005 to 2006
Juba had faced a similar crime rate, but that 2007 saw a dramatic
fall in robberies. The recent crime wave began in mid-February and
represented a threat to the CPA. He hinted darkly that the enemies
of the Peace Agreement were the active players in this new crime
wave.

3. (SBU) The Interior Minister laid out the initiatives the GOSS was
undertaking to combat the problem. This included putting more
police on the streets, new night patrols to watch for armed groups,
a rapid response force ready to rush to the scene of an ongoing
robbery, the distribution of more and better communications
equipment to help law enforcement forces to better communicate and
coordinate, the creation of a committee to coordinate all the
security forces involved (military intelligence, SPLA, police,
etc.), the identification of critical areas in Juba for increased
surveillance, the relocation of all SPLA forces outside of Juba, and
the curtailment of the movement of SPLA forces at night except when
on duty.

4. (SBU) The Minister then made a pitch for the INGOS not to panic.
The GOSS took their security seriously, and the "enemies of peace",
he said, wanted them to leave. They should not cave in to that.
After all, he said, no place was entirely crime free, and in fact
crime is far more prevalent and dangerous in places like Nairobi and
in South Africa, where foreigners are often killed. No foreigners,
he said, had been killed in Juba.

5. (SBU) The Minister for Regional Cooperation spoke next, assuring
everyone that the GOSS "Will take responsibility for your safety."
Again, he hinted that the CPA has its enemies whose intent is to
wreck the peace, and that the international community was being
targeted because they help the CPA. The Minister of Information and
Broadcasting spoke last, echoing much of the same message and again
hinting that the "enemies of peace and the CPA" were behind the
attacks. He promised that these people would be identified and
brought to justice. He said that Southern Sudan was a free country
with freedom of movement, "which gives troublemakers opportunities."
He said that the GOSS would not curb or reduce freedoms in order to
handle the situation, but that they would "crack down."

6. (SBU) In a question and answer period, the Interior Minister said
that the GOSS was creating nine new police stations around Juba to
increase law enforcement outreach, and that the pattern of attacks
looks "calculated." The attackers are young and generally in
military clothing. He said, however, he did not believe they were
SPLA because they often asked their victims if the SPLA was nearby,
which they would already know were they really in the army.
Finally, he added, "Do not complain if we act aggressively against
these people. If they take $50,000 and we catch them, we'll shoot
them."

7. (SBU) After the meeting CG Datta was in a conversation with the
head of UNMIS when the Interior Minister walked by and interrupted
them to say privately that they had recently caught some of the
perpetrators. "They will lead us to the others," he confidently
predicted, and again hinted darkly that they were the "enemies of
peace." He refused to say more or elaborate.

8. (SBU) Comment: The ministers never came out and directly said
NCP, but they were obviously hinting that these "enemies of peace"
were agents of the NCP here to drive out INGOs in the hopes of
damaging the GOSS and the CPA. This is always the default position
in South Sudan when anything goes badly regardless of the facts. It
is also possible that there are elements within the South who would
wish to destabilize the GOSS. A crime wave in Juba hardly needs an
agent provocateur explanation, however. The INGOs in Juba are soft
targets with lots of cash on hand because of the poor service
offered by local banks and the need to conduct nearly all business
in cash. Men with guns can make a lot of money fast and there are
lots of armed men in South Sudan.

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FERNANDEZ

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