Cablegate: Darfur: Update On Korma Attacks and Rape Allegations

DE RUEHKH #1637/01 1921740
O 111740Z JUL 06





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Darfur: Update on Korma Attacks and Rape Allegations

Ref: Khartoum 01625

1. (SBU) Summary: Media accounts and a UN Sudan Situation Report
detail hostilities in several areas of North Darfur State during the
July 5-10 timeframe, resulting in perhaps 80 deaths and thousands of
IDPs. In addition, the Report contains IDP accusations that members
of the SLM/Minni Minawi faction had raped women and executed as many
as 40 men. The SLM denies the accusations, and demands an
investigation. The UN has issued a special release clarifying that
the items published in its Situation Report were attributed to those
making the statements in question, rather than representing its own
opinions. End summary.

Attacks Hit Korma Area; UN Report Cites IDP Rape Claims
--------------------------------------------- ----------

2. (U) On July 5-10, hostilities renewed in the Korma area of North
Darfur State, spreading toward surrounding areas, including Tawila
(Note: Korma has changed hands between SLM factions three times
since March 2006. End note.) A UN Sudan Situation Report details
several of the related incidents, which involved fighting between
SLM factions. The Report also carried, however, an account by IDPs
regarding purported rapes and executions. Numerous media accounts
of the violence point toward the SLM/Minni Minawi faction as the
aggressor, citing roughly 80 deaths and thousands of IDPs as fleeing
the area.

3. (U) On July 9, a UN Sudan Situation Report stated the following
items regarding the security situation in North Darfur:

(Begin text)
On 8 July, a G-19 senior field commander (SLA/AW (Abdul Wahid))
reported that Birmaza (G-19 controlled-area) was under attack by
SLA/MM (Minni Minnawi) rebels. A Government Antonov aircraft joined
by a white helicopter was observed circling the area. Further
investigations revealed that it was a white Government helicopter
which passed over the town heading in the direction of Muzbat.
Comment: As a result of this renewed and potential ongoing
fighting, UNDSS issued warnings to UNMIS, UN Agencies and NGO's
through OCHA that operations in the above reported areas should be
reviewed and suspended until further notice.
On 8 July, an AMIS helicopter was shot at by unknown individuals
carrying an unidentified projectile(s) 12 km Northeast of Shangil
Tobayi. The helicopter was completing an air patrol at a 100 meter
altitude with about 12 passengers. No further information is
available. Comment: UNDSS has temporarily restricted flights to
the area.
On 8 July, a G-19 senior field commander confirmed that SLA/MM
rebels, allegedly supported by SAF troops from El Fasher, attacked
and captured Umm Sidir (G-19 controlled-area, 90 km North of El
On 7 July, SLA/MM rebels attacked Al Aradib Ashara and Faiga
villages, both under SLA/AW (Abdul Wahid) influence. Three people
were reported killed and one was injured.
On 5 July, the SLA/MM and SLA/AW factions were reported fighting in
the SLA/AW controlled village of Tina (12 km Southwest of Tawilla).
The SLA/MM rebels were based from Susuwa (Southwest of Tawilla). A
SLA/AW senior field commander had also participated in the fight
with his forces.
On 5 July, SLA/MM rebels attacked the villages Dalim, Kathim and
Birka (about 40 km Northwest of El Fasher) which were most likely
under SLA/AW influence. The number of injured civilians and large
number of stolen livestock is unconfirmed.
AMIS reported that on 6 July, a town leader of Birka village (60 km
West of Tawilla) was killed by SLA/MM rebels during the on going
fighting between SLA/MM and SLA/AW in the Korma general area. The
SLA/MM rebels travelled into the town via Dali IDP Camp (Southest of
Intra SLA fighting in and around Tawilla has forced the displacement
of about 4,000 IDPs. On 8 July, AMIS reported that about 650 new
IDPs, mostly women and children, arrived in Zam Zam camp who fled
from the ongoing fighting between SLA factions in the Tawilla area.
All newly arrived IDPs belong to the Fur tribe and fled from 21
villages; Koyo, Kera, Kosheny, Sandingo, Karfolla, Dady, Hashaba,
Saby, Khor Mally, Dybis, Hymeda, Dolma, Dawa, Wadadi, M Saleat,
Dally, Nemera, D Ba, Carhma, Daybo, and Abdia. The IDPs alleged
that the SLA/MM faction was indiscriminately killing, raping women
and abducting Fur civilians in Tawilla. One IDP alleged he
witnessed fifteen young women being raped and then killed. He
further alleged that about forty men were kidnapped and believed to
have been executed. The general security situation was reported to
be tense.
(End text)

SLM Denies Claims, Seeks Investigation

4. (SBU) SLM/M Spokesman Mahgoub Hussein told Pol/Econ Chief on July

KHARTOUM 00001637 002 OF 002

11 that the UN report was not true, and that reports of rape were
based on misinformation and efforts to tarnish the image of the
SLM/Minni Minawi faction. He said the SLM/M had not launched any
attacks since the signing of the DPA on May 5, and added that the
attacks in the Korma area were due to rebel leader Sharif Harir and
the SLM/M breakaway faction G-19, perhaps with assistance from Chad.
His remarks echoed those in a letter to the editor Hussein wrote,
and which was published in the independent, English daily newspaper,
Khartoum Monitor, wherein the SLM protests the accusations, demands
an international investigation about the accusation, requests an
official apology from the UN, asks the UN to derive its information
from official sources, reiterates the SLM's compliance with
international humanitarian norms, and affirms that one of its
targets is cessation of activities by militias that strive to commit
such atrocities.

5. (SBU) In a separate conversation, SLM/A advisor Dr. Hassan Hashim
Elfashir told Poloff that there had been a battle between Minawi's
faction and the National Redemption Front (NRF) near Korma, but that
allegations of rape were completely false. The charges made no
sense, Elfashir said, because the SLM had been fighting for four
years, but had never been charged with these types of abuses.
Elfashir blamed the UN for the reports, and believed that Special
Representative Jan Pronk was trying to undermine the DPA by defaming
Minawi. The SLA had already spoken to UN officials in Cairo, and
hoped the UNSC would investigate. If the allegations were true, he
added, the SLA would be willing to turn the perpetrators over to the


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