Cablegate: Chadian Rebels and Inter-Ethnic Clashes in Goz

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1. (SBU) Summary: On October 22, Chadian rebels
occupied the Chadian town of Goz Beida (southeastern
Chad) for less than 24 hours. Able to take the town
without a fight (local authorities had left the day
before), the rebels reportedly departed northward.
Rebels did not threaten humanitarian workers, and
support for refugee camps in the area continues as
before. Goz Beida is in a region of escalating ethnic
animosity along the Chad/Sudan border with a resulting
increase in IDP flows westward. In the complicated
mosaic of ethnicities in this part of Chad, it appears
that that a Government of Chad/Dadjo alliance is
coalescing against a Chadian rebel/janjaweed/Sudanese
Government of National Unity (GNU) alliance. End

2. (SBU) UNHCR Country Director Serge Male notified
the Embassy that Chadian rebels (reportedly a fusion of
the Democratic Revolutionary Council of Acheikh Ibn
Oumar, Mahamat Nouri's Union of Forces for Progress and
Democracy, and the Tama-led FUC) had taken the town of
Goz Beida without any resistance at about 3 p.m. on
October 22. The rebel group calls itself the Union of
Forces for Democracy and Development (French acronym
UFDD). Local authorities had departed the area the
previous day. The rebels visited the UN compound,
assured humanitarian workers that they meant them no
harm, and patrolled the town. Later that day, some 30
of their number departed Goz Beida northward in the
direction of Ade (where the GOC has heavily fortified
positions, including attack helicopters). Overall the
rebels were reported to have some 50 - 60 vehicles.
UNHCR reported that by October 23 all rebels had
departed Goz Beida without incident; meanwhile, a rebel
spokesman on Radio France International claimed that
rebel forces continued to control Goz Beida and Ade.
(Comment: Inasmuch as Chadian authorities have not
returned to Goz Beida, it is not clear who, if anybody,
is in control. End comment.) The UN reports that it
has been able to move about without difficulty, and the
humanitarian workers are providing the usual level of
support for refugees in surrounding refugee camps.

3. (SBU) PolOff traveled extensively in the region
prior to the October 22 incursion, and was informed
that from October 13-14, heavily armed janjaweed
(widely believed to be actively supported by the GNU)
attacked Chadian Dadjo populations and IDPs in the Goz
Beida area. Refugees in the neighboring camp of Djabal
reported dramatic versions of the conflict to PolOff.
One Refugee Committee leader described aggressive
janjaweed activity in the vicinity of For Baranga,
where three men were abducted from the village, loaded
into a truck and killed on the road. He warned of the
union between the janjaweed and Chadian Arabs, who were
receiving Sudanese assistance in the GNU's bid to oust
President Deby. The Refugee Committee Leader
acknowledged to PolOff that refugees in Djabal looked
to SLA rebels for "protection" and were only too eager
to leave the camp to help in the fight against the
janjaweed. In the IDP camp of Gouroukoun, the Chef des
Chefs told PolOff that President Bashir and the GNU
were the root of all problems in the Goz Beida area and
the sources behind the janjaweed atrocities that had
driven almost 3,000 new IDPs to locations near the Goz
Amir refugee camp since early October. According to
the Secretary-General of Goz Beida, President Bashir,
in an attempt to "Balkanize" the sub-region, is using
the janjaweed and scorched-earth techniques to
destabilize the black African villages in Chad,
beginning in the east and moving inland.

4. (SBU) UNICEF representatives in the area described
the emergence in the southern border region of an "Arab
alliance," comprised not only of janjaweed elements but
also of Chadian rebels and even non-Arab members of
certain local tribes (according to the Chef des Chefs
in the Gouroukoun IDP camp, these tribes include the
Ouddai, the Noimbi, the Taqo, the Maharia, the
Shigerat, the Nabak, the Maseria Rouge and the Mimi).
Some of these groups reportedly received written
invitations to join this alliance.

5. (SBU) UNHCR Goz Beida representatives told Poloff
October 16 that in response to the emerging "Arab
alliance," there is an inchoate "black alliance"
forming among those groups who declined the invitation
to join the Arab alliance and who believe it is
necessary to defend non-Arab interests in the region
against Darfur-style persecution. On one side are the
"Arabs": janjaweed, Chadian rebels, the Ouddai and the
Mimi; and on the other are the "blacks": the Dadjo, the

NDJAMENA 00001255 002 OF 002

Masalit, the Mobi and the Singar. International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Goz Beida rep did not
dismiss this theory out of hand but did note that the
phenomenon of proxy warfare may also be at work. ICRC
rep also observed that Chadian forces were now openly
admitting that they were fighting in the south to
protect villagers (i.e. Dadjo) from persecution,
something they had not done in previous months during
similar instability.


6. (SBU) The sequence of events is reminiscent of the
start of the April 13 attacks on N'djamena, which also
commenced in Goz Beida. While an advance on N'djamena
is unlikely to play out in a similar manner this time,
the outbreak of fighting in Eastern Chad will lead to
wider inecurity with unpredictable results.

© Scoop Media

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