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Cablegate: Darfur: Protests Lead to Violence As N. Darfur Governor

VZCZCXRO4197
OO RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #2113/01 2471433
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 041433Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4398
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 002113

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, DS, DS/IP/AF, DS/DSS/ITA
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KPKO SOCI AU UN US SU
SUBJECT: DARFUR: PROTESTS LEAD TO VIOLENCE AS N. DARFUR GOVERNOR
LEADS CHARGE AGAINST UNSCR 1706

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) The Governor of North Darfur state led a peaceful
demonstration against UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1706 on
September 2. In prepared remarks, he called for "jihad" against any
"foreign invaders" and urged the Government of National Unity (GNU)
to support all efforts to resist an expanded UN presence. He warned
the U.S. and UK - whose flags were burned - that the introduction of
UN peacekeepers would lead to "grave consequences." The rally
concluded with a procession to the UN compound, where a letter
spelling out the Governor's demands was presented to the Head of
Office. In a separate confrontation, two persons were killed,
twelve injured, and forty detained when students in favor of UN
intervention clashed with police. The Governor's statements
represent a disturbing trend and constitute the crossing of a number
of noteworthy tripwires. End summary.

--------------------------------------------- ------
FIERY FLAGS AND RHETORIC AGAINST "FOREIGN INVADERS"
--------------------------------------------- ------

2. (SBU) According to UN and AMIS sources, in response to the August
31 passage of UNSCR 1706, government officials in North Darfur state
organized a September 2 demonstration in El Fasher to protest the
introduction of UN peacekeepers. The Governor of North Darfur,
Othman Mohammed Yousif Kibir, led the rally. An estimated three to
four thousand individuals attended the demonstration, including
students of all ages, government employees, teachers, union members,
religious and community leaders, and local tribal/government
officials. (Comment: As in previous National Congress Party
(NCP)-sponsored demonstrations in El Fasher, it appears there were
organized efforts to recruit attendance at the demonstration. It is
not known, however, whether rumors of students being paid to
demonstrate are valid. Despite claims by official speakers at the
rally, several participants in the demonstration affirm that there
were few, if any, internally displaced persons (IDPs) represented in
the gathering. End Comment.)

3. (SBU) The Governor, dressed in military uniform and sporting the
red ribbon of "Dababeen" (fighters willing to die for religious
causes), proclaimed the outright rejection of UNSCR 1706 by all
Darfurians. He affirmed Sudan's ability and willingness to confront
any "foreign invaders" that would undermine the unity and
sovereignty of the country. The Governor said the GNU is pressing
ahead in the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) and
in realizing the aspirations of the people of Darfur. He held that
UNSCR 1706 was "unfair" and would only serve to further destabilize
Darfur.

4. (SBU) The Governor strongly denounced the introduction of
"international" forces to Darfur. He warned the world community,
with particular emphasis on the U.S. and UK, that such a move would
only invite additional bloodshed and war in the region. Prior to
the Governor's remarks, U.S. and UK flags were burned to cheers and
chanting of national slogans. The Governor declared the solidarity
of the NCP, the National Security Council, the Legislative Council,
and local tribal/government officials, in rejecting the UN
resolution, and offered his appreciation for the attendance and
tangible support of Badawi Al Khair Idriss, GNU representative and
head of the NCP delegation to El Fasher. (Comment: Idriss made only
brief remarks at the outset of the rally, which began near the
Governor's office. He urged support for the Governor and labeled
the gathering a "demonstration of anger." End Comment.)

--------------------------------------------
GOVERNOR'S CALL FOR JIHAD AND MARCH ON UNMIS
--------------------------------------------

5. (SBU) The Governor continued his inflammatory remarks in avowing
all Darfurians' willingness to fight the "colonizers," particularly
the U.S and UK, who co-sponsored the UN resolution. He called on
the crowd to participate and support a jihad against any "foreign
intervention," the outcome of which would only lead to "grave
consequences" for the foreigners. In reaffirming the absolute
integrity and sovereignty of the Sudanese state, the Governor
proffered a seven-point declaration:

-- The absolute refusal of UNSCR 1706;

-- The complete refusal of any negotiations concerning the issue;

-- A declaration of "jihad" against UN peacekeeping troops and
"international forces;"

-- The opening of all military training centers for those interested
in receiving military training to fight "international forces;"

KHARTOUM 00002113 002 OF 003

-- A call on all Muslims, religious men, and students in religious
schools, to ask for God's support in defeating the invaders;

-- A demand to avail Sudan's human resources and funds to support
jihad; and

-- Activation of emergency rules to protect the country and the
state from foreign agents.

6. (SBU) In concluding the demonstration, the Governor appealed to
the crowd to march to the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) compound to
deliver a letter containing the points in para 5. The crowd moved
peacefully from downtown El Fasher to the UN compound, where the
letter was delivered to Head of Office Niels Scott and a UN security
representative. To publicize their message, government officials
orchestrated local media coverage of the day's events, including
delivery of the letter to the UN. (Note: National television
channels covered the story and broadcast images from the
demonstration on the evening of September 2. End Note.)

-----------------------------------------
GNU MILITARY AND POLICE FLEX THEIR MUSCLE
-----------------------------------------

7. (SBU) Backing up the tough talk, GNU military and police units
flexed their muscle on September 3 in a large-scale military parade
through El Fasher town and its outskirts. One convoy included more
than eighty technical Land Cruisers mounted with multiple-rocket
launchers, anti-aircraft weapons, and heavy machine guns moving
north past the Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE) compound in
the direction of Abu Shouk IDP camp. The ground element procession
was supported by MI-24 HIND attack helicopters, which carried out
multiple passes over El Fasher and its outskirts from 10:30 a.m. -
11:30 a.m.

8. (SBU) On September 2, tensions also flared between SLA-Minawi
party members and GNU national security officers, who demanded
Minawi's people cease displaying signs that proclaimed support for a
UN force. Unconfirmed accounts suggest that fighting nearly broke
out between the two sides before Head of National Security General
Hassan Mostafa intervened to resolve the confrontation.

9. (SBU) Also on September 3, El Fasher University students
protesting against the GNU and its position on UN transition clashed
with police, who reportedly shot and killed one person and injured
an additional five. Unconfirmed accounts describe fifteen minutes
of looting and opposing student demonstrations - one in favor of the
government and the other opposed to it - engaging in a hostile
confrontation, at which point GNU riot police were dispatched to
control the situation. UN sources later confirmed that two persons
were killed (one of the injured having died overnight), twelve were
injured, and forty were detained. The specific circumstances
leading to the violence are yet to be independently verified.

---------
TRIPWIRES
---------

10. (SBU) The Governor's statements on behalf of the GNU represent a
disturbing trend and merit close attention. With this event, a
number of noteworthy tripwires have either been approached or
outright crossed, to include those cited below. Post continues to
review and update contingency planning for personnel under Chief of
Mission authority based in Darfur.
Mission response will be discussed in greater detail septel.

-- Initiation of Government-sponsored demonstrations wherein
Government leaders actively participate;

-- Initiation of Government-sponsored demonstrations calling for
violence against the international presence, to include the burning
of U.S. and UK flags;

-- Popular expressions of discontent against the Government's
position on UN intervention in Darfur;

-- Use of force to contain popular expressions of discontent; and

-- Non-renewal of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS)
September 30.

-------
COMMENT
-------

11. (SBU) The Governor has consistently rejected the necessity of UN
peacekeepers in Darfur, making note of this position both publicly

KHARTOUM 00002113 003 OF 003


and privately, including in a meeting August 22 with the CDA and a
U.S. Congressional Delegation. His most recent public remarks,
however, indicate an up-tick in rhetoric, particularly in calling
for jihad against "colonizers" and in allowing the burning of the
U.S. and UK flags. There are reports that many of the demonstrators
were either paid to attend or participated only reluctantly, as we
believe the vast majority of Darfurians support a UN PKO.
Notwithstanding the fact that the Governor is a genuine Darfurian of
non-Arab lineage (Berti tribe), rumors have been swirling for months
that he may lose his position as Governor in the power-sharing
arrangements mandated under the DPA. Perhaps for this reason, he
has opted to take a hard-line position on the UNSCR, hoping that his
loyalty to the NCP will reap benefits in the coming months should he
find himself ousted in North Darfur.

12. (SBU) Comment continued: The political divisions between the
GNU and SLA-Minawi that have been evident in Khartoum on the
specific issue of UN peacekeepers are becoming more pronounced on
the ground in Darfur. Minawi forces and GNU military troops in
Darfur maintain a healthy and respectful separation. However, the
passage of UNSCR 1706 and the question of demonstrating public
support (SLA-Minawi) or opposition (GNU) to it, could undermine that
respectful separation and heighten tensions between the two groups,
as well as other constituencies (like students), leading to
potentially violent consequences. End comment.

HUME

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