Search

 

Cablegate: Responding More Effectively On Sofa Violations

VZCZCXRO1659
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0722/01 1331036
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121036Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0790
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0209
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000722

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, DS/IP/AF, DS/DSS/CC
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KPKO AU SU ASEC CD UNSC
SUBJECT: RESPONDING MORE EFFECTIVELY ON SOFA VIOLATIONS

REF: A. KHARTOUM 691

B. KHARTOUM 710
C. KHARTOUM 716

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Responding to reports of GOS aerial bombardments
in North Darfur (ref A), the Ceasefire Commission (CFC) opened
investigations into the attacks on Um Sidir, Shegag Karo and Ein
Bissaro. Although these investigations are ongoing, initial reports
confirm that the attacks did occur and that they resulted in
considerable damage and loss of life. UNAMID has been hamstrung by
its own lack of capacity in its ability to respond, but it is not
only lack of helicopters that prevents the peacekeeping operation
from doing its job - it is also the Government of Sudan (GoS),
which, on May 5, refused to let UNAMID fly to Shegeg Karo, the site
of the worst attacks. This refusal constitutes a violation of the
Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed by UNAMID and the GoS, yet
UNAMID leadership, fearing the PNG fate that has befallen others
such as former UNMIS SRSG Jan Pronk, has remained close-lipped about
the violations. This silence handicaps the UNAMID military, which
admits it has no plan for a response to the bombings. This silence
also leaves the door open for the GoS to continue to act with
impunity, which can be expected given the brazen JEM rebel attack on
Khartoum. GOS officials have already claimed that the North Darfur
bombings were targeted at the same group of JEM fighters who
attacked Khartoum and this accusation makes sense. They claim to
have tracked JEM from the Chad border, but lost track of the JEM
column as it headed across the vast sandy abyss toward Khartoum. In
the interests of mitigating the carnage, the US must push hard for
UNAMID to investigate and condemn SAF military actions, but this
goes both ways, and the US must push UNAMID to investigate and
condemn rebel military actions as well - including the JEM attack on
Khartoum, which also resulted in civilian casualties. END SUMMARY.

-----------
SHEGEG KARO
-----------

2. (SBU) A CFC team that visited Shegag Karo on May 8 found that
three bombs, centered around the marketplace, had hit the village in
a May 4 attack [NOTE: A civilian member of the team noted separately
that four craters were observed, one approximately 1.5 meters deep.
END NOTE]. The market was completely destroyed and a water point
had evidently also been targeted; the carcass of a camel was
observed in the area where the strike took place. One team member
reported seeing 30 shrapnel rounds, head scarves covered with blood
and "human tissue" hanging from damaged trees. Notably, the team
confirmed that contrary to news reports and local rebel propaganda,
no schools had been hit.

3. (SBU) The CFC team divided into two groups to conduct interviews,
and the two teams received conflicting information on the incident.
One team member reported that 11 people were killed in the attack,
with five who died 24 hours after the bombing. Armed rebel groups
on the ground had reported casualties upwards of 19, but the UNAMID
Humanitarian Liaison assessed the Sudan donors' conference in Oslo,
attended by Joint Special Representative Adada, was the catalyst for
inflated figures to garner media attention. Local villagers showed
the CFC team three fresh graves, which they claimed contained the
bodies of eight people. The team estimated that there were likely
four to six injuries.

4. (SBU) In a violation of the Status of Forces Agreement signed in
February by the GoS and UNAMID, the GoS did not clear a UNAMID
emergency flight to Shegag Karo on May 5 to evacuate the wounded,
which could explain reports from villagers that several casualties
had been transported across the border to Bahai, Chad, for
treatment. [NOTE: This information has not been confirmed by
organizations on the ground in Bahai. END NOTE]. The flight was
subsequently cleared on May 6, but by the time ICRC got a surgery
team on the ground to meet with what it expected to be a high number
of wounded, it found only four people in need of treatment. ICRC
speculated that others with injuries may have already moved to other
locations.

-----------
EIN BISSARO
-----------

5. (SBU) CFC Acting Chief of Staff said that he had tasked the
Sector North sub-CFC team to investigate reported May 4 attacks in
Ein Bissaro (150 km east of Malha in North Darfur), attacks
subsequently confirmed by the Joint Operations Center. A first
attempt by UNAMID to reach victims in the area proved unsuccessful
when it was established that the wounded were in a location for
which UNAMID had neither the UNDSS clearance nor the fuel to fly.
The second mission was aborted, however, when GoS officials denied
clearance for the team to enter the area due to insecurity from

KHARTOUM 00000722 002 OF 002


fighting between JEM and other factions on the ground. UNDSS
reported that the newer, richer and stronger Chadian-supported JEM
rebels are trying to convert smaller factions to its ranks,
including SLA/Unity and URF, both of whom were still on the fence as
to whether or not to join. On May 7 UNDSS reported that it had been
waiting for clearance from the GoS Division Commander in El Fasher
to gain access the victims but that the Division Commander had
balked, saying those wounded were combatants, like the two arrested
after the Um Sidir bombing (ref A). It was unclear when the team
would make another attempt to reach Ein Bissaro. A medical
evacuation planned by UNICEF with air support from the UN
Humanitarian Air Service has not taken place.

--------
UM SIDIR
--------

6. (SBU) CFC officials told fieldoffs on May 8 that a CFC team had
visited Um Sidir (northeast of Kutum in North Darfur and in Sudan
Liberation Army/Unity territory), and confirmed that three bombs
appeared to have hit the village during a May 1 attack. Two people
were killed in the attacks, and between six and eight others
injured, two reportedly seriously. The casualties were all civilian
herders who had been guarding a water tank, where one of the bombs
fell. The CFC team reported seeing livestock carcasses, including
sheep and donkeys, littering the scene. Residents claimed that the
proximity of the bomb to the water reservoir had polluted their
drinking supply.

7. (SBU) Per ref A, there has been no word on the two individuals
evacuated from Um Sidir and brought to El Fasher who were arrested
by GoS Security for being "combatants." UNAMID Human Rights and
ICRC are following these cases, and UNAMID is requesting that UN
Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) officers be on site when
flights carrying war-wounded arrive in El Fasher in order to witness
and report such arrests.

--------------------------
COMMENT AND RECOMMENDATION
--------------------------

8. (SBU) Comment: It is not UNAMID's fault that the peacekeeping
operation cannot respond to these bombings. The Deputy Force
Commander and the Chief of Staff acknowledge UNAMID's logistical
shortcomings (including tactical military helicopters) that prevent
it from having a quick reaction capability for events such as these
North Darfur attacks. The Force Commander has twice said that he
will not direct the mission to react to every incident received on a
daily basis and has urged flexibility in his deployment plan to cope
with UNAMID's missing assets. However, the Deputy Force Commander
also acknowledges that "there is no plan" to address the bombings or
to classify them as SOFA violations, largely because there is no
political will among UNAMID leadership to do so, given the fear of
the GoS' declaring them persona non grata, as it did former UNMIS
SRSG Jan Pronk. Joint Special Representative (JSR) Adada's own
staffers have admitted that he will never speak out publicly against
the violations because "he prefers the path of least resistance."

9. (SBU) Recommendation: Given the likelihood of more bombings
following JEM's brazen attack on Khartoum, post recommends that USUN
take advantage of JSR Adada's presence in New York during the week
of May 12 to demarche him privately on the need to call out the GoS
on its SOFA violations, and to be more aggressive in investigating
both SAF and rebel military actions, especially when they result in
loss of civilian lives. The JSR useful could engage the GoS
privately at first (to avoid the pitfalls of Pronk's blogging
criticisms), then include his findings in the briefing on the
Secretary-General's 30-day report to the Security Council. But
again, to be balanced and accepted by the GOS, it must include
specific language about rebel actions as well. Once these findings
are then briefed to the Council, it will be up to the UNSC to
determine subsequent action.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC