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Cablegate: Kalma Camp Update, August 28

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OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1311 2411611
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 281611Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1746
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001311

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

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: KALMA CAMP UPDATE, AUGUST 28

1. (SBU) As photos circulated on the internet of Kalma IDPs burying
their dead from the August 25 violence, political actors in Darfur
remain uncertain on how to deal with the events that left 32 IDPs
dead, and up to 17 police officers injured. Ali Mahmoud, Wali of
South Darfur, was vocal in his defense of the actions by GOS police
forces, while the Wali of West Darfur issued a statement condemning
the violence. Foreign Minister Deng Alor criticized the Government
of Sudan (GOS) for its actions at Kalma camp, but no member of the
National Congress Party (NCP) chose to comment. President Omar
al-Bashir, visiting Juba to commemorate the signing of a
dams-building protocol, did not address the violence.

2. (SBU) Poloff met with UNAMID Deputy Joint Special Representative
(DJSR) Henry Anyidoho at UNAMID headquarters in El Fasher, Darfur on
August 28. Visibly ill-at-ease, Anyidoho detailed the numerous
crises that have arisen at Kalma camp in the wake of the shootings.
UNAMID's formal investigation is still continuing, as it is not yet
fully clear who fired the first shot, even as the GOS continues to
insist that armed IDPs fired first from inside the camp. GOS
authorities claim between seven and 17 police officers were injured
in the armed engagement, but when the DJSR requested to see the
wounded, GOS authorities denied access to the officers, which leads
him to doubt whether they are truly injured. Anyidoho said he
remains concerned that this week's significant rains will flood the
camp, an event that GOS authorities in South Darfur may use as an
opportunity to dismantle the camp. Two weeks previous, GOS
officials told Anyidoho the camp needed to be searched for weapons
to protect incoming flights, as the camp sits directly in line with
the flight path of Nyala airport, but Aynidoho thought he had
reached an agreement with the Wali not to conduct such a search.
UNAMID's capacity to respond to such events is insufficient, as only
one of out 19 UNAMID Formed Police Units (FPUs) is in place; this
Bangladeshi unit is very conservative when it comes to performing
patrols, said Anyidoho, and he added disappointedly, "It seems like
we are moving forward at a crawling pace."

3. (SBU) Poloff met Ali Hassan, the head of UNAMID civil affairs for
South Darfur, in Nyala on August 28. Hassan was blunt in his
condemnation of the GOS role in the violence, saying, "This is by
far the worst incident we've had in the camp since 2005." Hassan
showed Poloff photos taken of the dead, photos he said would not be
released publicly and would not be distributed internally. Poloff
viewed six photos of three women, one child and two men, all of
which revealed direct shots to the heads and faces of the victims.
Hassan said that it appeared all were shot at close range. Hassan
was insistent that GOS officials do not currently understand the
gravity of what had taken place. "They haven't seen graphic images
such as these," he said. "They don't understand the repercussions
this may have, or the magnitude of it." Hassan said that in
addition to the 32 known dead (one previously confirmed dead was
determined not to be from Kalma camp), 51 were wounded and evacuated
from the camp; the number of dead and wounded could be far higher,
as many were unable to seek immediate medical attention. Stories
continue to differ on exactly what happened, but Hassan said the
photos prove indiscriminate shooting on the part of GOS forces.
"Whatever shooting came from the IDP side does not justify shooting
someone in the head."

4. (SBU) Hassan said that Kalma Camp remains a highly unstable
"flashpoint." Criminal gangs tied to rebel movements rule the camp,
prostitution is common, and weapons are displayed in the open.
Yesterday, IDPs gathered to dismantle a piece of the railway tracks
leading to Nyala, and UNAMID arrived at the scene and urged
restraint as GOS forces pulled back. However, Hassan was honest
regarding UNAMID's limited capacity for reducing conflict. Given
current circumstances, he denied that UNAMID could have acted to
prevent this violence without an FPU at Kalma camp full time. When
asked how this event will change UNAMID, Hassan replied, "It will
make us look at how we can use the resources we do have in a more
effective manner."

5. (SBU) Comment: There is a growing fear among IDPs that the
government is trying to force them out of the camps, and the latest
forcible disarmament attempt at Kalma camp only serves to reinforce
those fears. This is not particularly helpful at a time when the
GOS is attempting to coordinate a new initiative on Darfur. Despite
its ongoing lack of capacity, UNAMID must find a way to engage on
this issue - whether through training with local police or increased
engagement with the police commanders, or both - in advance of the
deployment of additional FPUs that should allow for 24-hour patrols.


ASQUINO

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