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Cablegate: Undss Briefs On Security Situation in North Darfur

VZCZCXRO8993
OO RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1771/01 2050947
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 240947Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3856
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001771

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV MOPS KPKO US SU
SUBJECT: UNDSS BRIEFS ON SECURITY SITUATION IN NORTH DARFUR

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The United Nations Department of Safety and
Security (UNDSS) Coordinator continues to assess the current
situation in North Darfur as volatile and unpredictable. Fighting
in the north has fallen off; however, the UNDSS Coordinator believes
this is due to militia consolidation and preparations to regain lost
territory. He expressed concern over the building trend of attacks
on NGOs and other international organizations specifically detailing
recent vehicle hijackings and compound attacks. END SUMMARY.

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NRF/G-19 ATTACKS ON SLM/A-MINAWI JULY 14-18
-------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) UNDSS Coordinator provided an overview of security
incidents in North Darfur over the past week, reviewing the National
Redemption Front (NRF) attacks on SLM/A-Minawi forces in Al Khosh on
July 13, followed by Chadian-supported NRF attacks in Muzbat, Lil,
Turba, and Gurbura on July 14-15. The Chadian forces were reported
to have withdrawn across the border by late July 18, with the
exception of a small group left in Shegeg Karo. UNDSS also stated
that there were reports of Chadian Army helicopters extracting their
wounded soldiers in Shegeg Karo on July 17. Overall control of the
region is unclear, with both NRF (G-19) and SLM/A-M commanders
claiming local control. UNDSS further stated that there was an
apparent effort ongoing to find and attack SLM/A leader Minni Minawi
and other SLM/A-M leaders' families in that area. Minawi later
confirmed that he was worried about these families and was obliged
to move forces into the area to protect them. UNDSS provided
sketchy information on Arab and SLM/A-Wahid fighting near Funung and
intra-SLM/A-Minawi fighting at Kulkul.

3. (SBU) UNDSS confirmed that SLA-Minawi controls Korma and the
corridor to Tawila. He estimated that SLM/A leader Abdel Wahid is
currently regrouping his forces and gauging his support after
defections to G-19. Wahid continues to decline affiliation with the
NRF. He predicted that the NRF will soon be attacked by
SLA-Minawi.

--------------------------------------
REPORTS OF CHADIAN INVOLVMENT CONTINUE
--------------------------------------

4. (SBU) While UNDSS did not have hard proof on Chadian regular army
participation the credible evidence continues to build. He observed
that the NRF appeared freshly re-supplied, including new weapons
(AK-47), vehicles and provisions. In a sidebar, UNDSS confided that
during his discussions in Birmaza with G-19 leaders, he observed two
individuals in Chadian uniforms, but could not confirm their status
or roles (deserters or active duty). Several sources had reported
Chadian helicopter sightings. (NOTE: UNDSS also noted NRF's
preference to forego past affiliations such as JEM and G-19, though
members of the NRF would retain their ties to original factions. He
explained that NRF personnel told him that the rebel group considers
SLA-Minawi, SAF, and AMIS all to be legitimate targets for attack.
The G-19 commanders also admitted that they had participated in the
attack on Hamrat al Sheik in Kordafan. END NOTE.)

-------------------------------
SPATE OF NGO VEHICLE HIJACKINGS
-------------------------------

5. (SBU) UNDSS also highlighted a series of recent incidents
involving international NGO organizations. Five vehicle hijackings
had taken place in North Darfur and in the northern reaches of South
Darfur in the last six days. He detailed three new vehicle
hijackings in Saraf Omra, Shangil Tobaiya, and Duma, South Darfur
between Nyala and El Fasher, as well as an incident in Kabkabiya
involving the loss of one local national worker. Meanwhile two PAE
drivers captured in conjunction with the stolen, AMIS-escorted fuel
truck have been in contact with PAE and would likely be released
within the next five days. Separately, a bus north of Duma came
under small arms fire by unidentified assailants, with five wounded
civilians seeking help at an NGO compound in Shangil Tobaiya. They
were later transported to the hospital in El Fasher. Finally, UNDSS
noted that SAF CPT Omar (NFI) was blocking the movement of UNMIS
personnel in Kebkabiya and harassing them for paperwork/travel
documents, most likely as a result of a misunderstanding their
mission to destroy outdated food stuffs.

6. (SBU) UNDSS expects that thefts of vehicles, rebel "land-grabs,"
and some Arab militia attacks, while declining in severity and
frequency from prior months, will continue. He reiterated that
there was an active ongoing propaganda campaign, particularly by the
non-signatory rebel groups. He predicted that general tensions are
likely to increase, perhaps exacerbated by the northward migration
of nomads in search of grazing/watering areas, and concluded that
the situation will remain predictably unpredictable.


KHARTOUM 00001771 002 OF 002


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