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Cablegate: Insecurity in Guereda

VZCZCXRO4213
RR RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHNJ #1071/01 2301015
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181015Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4256
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0822

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NDJAMENA 001071

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF, AF/C, AF/SPG, D, DRL, DS/IP/ITA,
DS/IP/AF, H, INR, INR/GGI, PRM, USAID/OTI AND USAID/W FOR
DARFURRMT; LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICAWATCHERS; GENEVA FOR
CAMPBELL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PHUM PREF CD SU
SUBJECT: INSECURITY IN GUEREDA

REF: NDJAMENA 1028

1. (SBU) Summary: The town of Guereda, a hub for services to
five Sudanese refugee camps in Eastern Chad, has experienced
escalating insecurity since July 2006. In the most recent
incident, the U.S.-funded NGO International Medical Corps
(IMC) suffered a major theft and violent assault on national
and expatriate staff. During meeting with donors, NGO,s and
UN agencies, the former Chadian Minister for Territorial
Administration, Mahamat Ali Nassour, noted that Government of
Chad resources had been tied up defending Chad,s territorial
integrity from hostile forces in Sudan; but with the recent
agreement renewing diplomatic ties with Sudan, the GOC would
be better positioned to confront the "bandits" responsible
for vehicle theft and other assaults in the East. He also
promised that recruitment in the refugee camps would cease.
End Summary.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
ATTACK ON NGO IN GUEREDA
- - - - - - - - - - - -

2. (U) On August 4, 2006 the IMC compound in Guereda came
under attack by seven bandits. The incident occurred around
1945 while most of the expatriate staff were eating dinner in
the guesthouse dining room. The IMC doctor walked outside
and was confronted by three men dressed in military uniform.
The men pointed guns at the doctor and forced him to lie on
the ground while the other assailants went into the dining
room and instructed the other staff members to do the same.
One of the bandits asked for the finance director, by name,
and then ordered him to open the safe while the others were
held at gunpoint. As this robbery was taking place, one of
the female staff members was coming out of her room, and was
grabbed by the assailants. In response to her resistance,
the assailants hit her in the head with one of their guns and
forced her on the ground with the others. The finance
director asked the finance officer to open the safe, at which
time the bandits absconded with approximately 50,000 USD,
money that was to pay staff salaries. After the bandits
left, the staff members searched the compound and discovered
that the individuals had entered the compound by removing the
barbed wire from the surrounding wall. The IMC staff
immediately called the United Nations High Commission for
Refugees (UNHCR) security to report the incident.

3. (U) During the incident, three staff members were injured,
one of them, the female staff member who was hit in the head,
had to be medically evacuated to the French hospital in
Abeche for a skull fracture. IMC decided to down-size
activities and reduce staff by sending eight expatriates to
Abeche and leaving four in Guereda to ensure minimal
activities on the ground. The day after the incident, and
only a few hours before the expatriates were to evacuate by
road to Abeche, the local authorities arrived at the compound
and individually questioned the finance director and finance
officer. A few hours later the Secretary General (SG) for
Guereda arrived and demanded documents that authorized IMC to
relocate and suspend operations. The SG also asserted that
IMC had evacuated the injured woman without his approval.
The SG requested that the finance director and finance
officer go to the police station to sign their statements.
The whole relocation convoy moved to the police office in
hopes that the papers could be signed and they could continue
on to Abeche. A few hours later the local authorities
informed the staff members that the finance director was
being questioned and that the finance officer still had to be
re-interviewed. IMC eventually decided to evacuate its staff
members via an Airserv flight to Abeche.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
GOC OFFICIAL ADDRESSES INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

4. (U) On August 10, at the request of the newly-arrived
UNHCR Country Representative, the former Chadian Minister of
Territorial Administration, Mahamat Ali Nassour, met with
donors, NGO,s and UN agencies to discuss the security
situation in Eastern Chad. Nassour stated that the
Government recognized the vulnerability of humanitarian
workers in the east, but pointed out that the resumption of
diplomatic ties with Sudan would change the security
environment. Chad would now be able to pursue the "bandits"
across the border into Sudan. Furthermore a new strategy was
being devised to support humanitarian operations, including
recruiting new gendarmes, providing better communication to

NDJAMENA 00001071 002 OF 002


security forces and procuring a small airplane to perform
reconnaissance on the border. The Minister admitted that
enhanced security measures would require the international
community's support.

5. (U) Following Nassour's presentation, IMC Country Director
Frederick Royce stated that IMC was under attack by the
Chadian military, with the complicity of the local
authorities and population. We have more to fear from the
authorities, he argued, than from other sources, and cannot
look to them for assistance. In response, the Minister
acknowledged that certain individuals implicated in the
attacks may have procured Chadian uniforms, but that they
were not associated with the Chadian military. He announced
that a new Prefect had been named for Guereda and expressed
his vew that this individual would be able to do a bettr
job of ensuring security than his predecessor. He also
stated that he hoped to send up to 75 aditional gendarmes to
Guereda.

6. (U) In otherexchanges, the International Committee of the
Re Cross (ICRC) noted that local authorities often pessured
organizations to hire their family members who were not
qualified. As a result, the issue of employment of local
staff had become an irritant between NGO,s and the
community. Better communication between the Chadian
authorities in N,djamena and local authorities concerning
the roles and responsibilities of the humanitarian
organizations and the host communities and local authorities
was urgently needed. The representative for the French
cooperation agency noted that impunity was rampant: in most
cases malefactors were known to the authorities, but were
never apprehended. He also pointed out that recruitment in
the refugee camps and among the local population by members
of Sudanese rebel movements opposing the signature of the
Darfur Peace Accords was a serious problem. In response to
these comments, the Minister stated that "a blind eye may
have been turned to this activity before, but it will not
continue." U.S. representative (DCM) noted the recent USG
contribution to UNHCR to support enhanced security measures,
and reiterated that without the cooperation of the Chadian
authorities at the national and local level additional
security measures would not be effective.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
UNHCR EXPRESSES CONCERN
- - - - - - - - - - - -

7. (U) UNHCR,s internal report on the security situation
pointed out that the administration of Guereda was Zaghawa,
and that a climate of complete impunity for Zaghawas existed
in the town. According to this report, the regime's primary
interest in Guereda is keeping an eye on the Tama (given the
close proximity of the Tama rebellion led by Mahamat Nour
across the border). Similarly the regime had no interest in
putting an end to recent intra-Tama/Goran conflict which had
left over 40 individuals dead (reftel). The new Prefect
named by Nassour is also Zaghawa and reported to be - like
his predecessor - illiterate. UNHCR field security officer
Elias Forsung, who conducted an assessment of the security
situation in Guereda, told Economic/Consular officer on
August 10 that the recent attack against the IMC may in fact
be an attempt to force the international community out of the
area to more discreetly permit attacks against the Tama
population.

8. (SBU) Comment: The presence of the Minister of
Territorial Administration at a meeting with donors was
widely welcomed as a good first step in raising awareness at
the highest levels in the Chadian government of the need to
take stronger measures to restore a measure of security for
humanitarian workers in the east. Nonetheless participants
privately expressed concerns that assurances were one thing -
results still needed to be seen. Furthermore, the recent
cabinet reshuffle, in which moved Nassour out of his position
as Minister of Territorial Administration, may hinder efforts
to augment security in the refugee camps.
WALL

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