Search

 

Cablegate: Chad Refugees Caught in the Middle of Sudanese

VZCZCXRO3307
OO RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHNJ #1215/01 2811429
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081429Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4447
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0905
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0849

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NDJAMENA 001215

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

PARIS AND LONDON FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF CD SU
SUBJECT: CHAD REFUGEES CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF SUDANESE
REBEL CLASH


1. (SBU) Less than 24 hours after UN High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) representative informed Charge that
Sudanese refugees in camps along the northern Chad border
with Sudan were in imminent danger, fighting broke out in and
around the camps between Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA)
non-signatories aligned with the Sudanese rebel group Justice
and Equality Movement (JEM) and what are reported to be
forces of DPA Signatory Mini Minnawi and the Government of
Sudan. The fighting appears to have subsided, but about
eighty Sudanese are now inside Chad either wounded or seeking
refuge. The clash took place on Chadian territory and JEM
appears to have instigated the conflict. Moving some 50,000
thousand refugees some 250 miles into the interior of Chad to
another refugee site will be a major undertaking, but last
night's fighting underscored the urgent need to relocate the
camps for the well-being of the refugees and in order to
maintain their civilian and humanitarian nature. End
summary.

2. (SBU) On Saturday, October 7, UNHCR representative Serge
Male informed Charge that the refugees in Oure Cassoni and Am
Nabak camps would need to be relocated to a new site further
in the interior as soon as possible. Both of these camps are
located quite close to the Sudanese border (Oure Cassoni is
only seven kilometers from the border.) Male's visit to the
region a few days earlier had persuaded him that the civilian
and humanitarian nature of the camps was seriously
compromised and that the safety of the refugees could no
longer be guaranteed.

3. (SBU) Male noted that Sudanese government forces and DPA
signatories had moved into position just two kilometers
across the border from Oure Cassoni camp. On the Chadian
side, near Lake Cariari, were JEM and Sudanese Liberation
Army (SLA) non-signatories. Male explained that the camps
themselves were recruiting grounds for Sudanese rebel groups,
and the fact that camp leaders consistently reported that
there were "no security problems" was good evidence that the
camp leadership was itself SLA. Another issue of concern was
protection of the 5,000 - 6,000 pro Mini Minnawi Sudanese in
Zone A of Oure Cassoni who find themselves vastly outnumbered
in the pro-JEM camp.

4. (SBU) In addition to the intra-Sudanese rebel conflicts,
some thirty kilometers away from Oure Cassoni camp, a group
of Chadian Gorans who have been denied refugee status have
been harassing camp officials and humanitarian workers,
including throwing stones at workers and attacking vehicles.
These are also suspected to be working with the JEM members
camped by Lake Cariari. Male stated that local capacity to
control the expected Sudanese rebel clash or to protect
humanitarian workers from the disgruntled Gorans was
"minimal." Male is urgently seeking to place the 15
additional gendarmes which the Government of Chad had
promised to the UN for refugee protection in Bahai,
recognizing that this will only be a palliative measure.
However, the government is dragging its feet on
implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding, and no
gendarmes have been provided.

5. (SBU) Male explained that the UN has known for some time
that the camps close to the border were highly problematic.
They have been seeking GOC cooperation to relocate the camps
westward. After local authorities nixed various alternative
sites, a site has now been found west of the town of Biltine
(some 250 kilometers away from the current site). Local
authorities have approved the site for refugee use, but a
water survey must still be performed to determine how much
water is available Male acknowledged that the refugees
would resist relocation. He has been in communication with
GOC authorities to let them know that the camps must be
relocated. He has stressed that this must be presented to
the camps as a GOC decision (which will be accomplished with
UNHCR assistance). Male has not yet informed NGO partners
about the move, although High Commissioner Guterres is aware
of the situation and would issue a statement expressing
concern about the need to maintain the humanitarian and
civilian nature of the camps.

6. (SBU) The next day Male informed Charge that fighting had
indeed broken out between what JEM and non- DPA signatory SLA
members and the SLA DPA-signatories and Government of Sudan
forces. The confrontation took place on Chadian territory
slightly north of Bahai in Cariari (which straddles the
border). The UN reported some 77 Sudanese soldiers wounded
who are now in Bahai. Chadian government sources confirmed
that a confrontation had taken place on Chadian territory,

NDJAMENA 00001215 002 OF 002


with the JEM described as the attacker. According to those
sources, some 81 Sudanese fled into Chad of which 21 were
wounded. GOC sources also reported that a Sudanese aircraft
was shot during the fighting and the fighting had also
spilled into the refugee camps.
TAMLYN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>


Pacific Media Watch: How Pacific Environmental Defenders Are Coping With The Covid Pandemic

SPECIAL REPORT: By Sri Krishnamurthi of Pacific Media Watch Pacific Climate Warriors - creative action to trigger better responses to climate crisis. Image: ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>