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Cablegate: Undss Security Briefing, North Darfur Aug 17

VZCZCXRO3441
PP RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1966 2291607
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171607Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4205
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001966

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG
DEPT PASS TO AID/W FOR AFR ALSO FOR OFDA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PGOV MOPS PREL SU
SUBJECT: UNDSS Security Briefing, North Darfur Aug 17

1. Summary: At UNDSS Security briefing on August 17, NMIS and the
humanitarian community expressed extreme apprehension about the
implications of the AU's directive to expel JEM and SLA-Abdel Wahid
representatives from the CFC process and AMIS compound. Concerns
were expressed that AMIS access to areas controlled by JEM and/or
Abdel Wahid will become even more constrained. NGOs are concerned
that the action will further undermine an already unstable security
environment and negatively impact humanitarian access to displaced
populations and conflict-affected areas. End Summary.

2. UNMIS Regional Head of Office Niels Scott provided the August 17
UNDSS security briefing. He cited only three recent significant
security events:

- August 15: A GoS military truck careened into a number of
bystanders near the market in El Fasher, resulting in 7 killed and
roughly 18 injured. Cause of the accident is still unclear, though
it is thought that the driver unintentionally lost control of the
vehicle. (Note: We have not observed any hostile civilian reaction
directed toward the local government or GoS military forces as a
result of the accident. End note.)

- August 15: A two-vehicle ICRC convoy was stopped roughly 20
kilometers south of Tawila by unidentified armed men in military
dress. The men took one vehicle and allowed the ICRC staff to
proceed with its other vehicle. No indication of the identity of
the bandits, though ICRC is investigating.

- August 16: A four-vehicle ICRC convoy in the vicinity of Jebel
Mara was halted by armed men, who took two vehicles, some
communications equipment and one ICRC driver. Remaining ICRC
personnel were released. An investigation is on-going.

3. As a result of the car-jackings, ICRC has temporarily suspended
its activities in the Tabit area of southern North Darfur. Niels
postulated that the recent spate of car-jackings could be attributed
to either: a) opportunistic banditry, or b) systematic efforts by
rebel groups to build up their vehicle inventories in anticipation
of renewed fighting.

4. Significant discussion during the briefing focused on the AU's
directive to expel JEM and SLA-Abdel Wahid representatives from the
CFC process and AMIS compound. UNMIS and the humanitarian community
expressed extreme apprehension about the implications of the action,
which suggests that AMIS access to areas controlled by JEM and/or
Abdel Wahid will become even more constrained. NGOs are visibly
concerned that the AU's directive will further undermine an already
unstable security environment and negatively impact their own
humanitarian access to displaced populations and conflict-affected
areas.

5. One protection officer from UNMIS, which has been involved in
mediating the return of AMIS elements to Abu Shouk and El Salaam IDP
camps, indicated that the AU directive could cause the collapse of
this mediation and will only reinforce the perception of AMIS
partiality.

HUME

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