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Cablegate: Southern Sudan--Conflict Threats in Urban Areas

DE RUEHKH #0970/01 1710410
P 200410Z JUN 07





E.O. 12958:N/A

SUBJECT: Southern Sudan--Conflict Threats in Urban Areas

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1. (U) Summary: USAID implementing partner Pact conducted a conflict
analysis and threat assessment in Southern Sudan and the Three
Areas. The focus of the assessment was on urban areas. A variety of
threats that could lead to conflict were identified and presented to
the South Sudan Peace Commission, Pact's government partner. Pact
will use this analysis to plan its interventions. End Summary.

2.(U) USAID's partner, Pact, is implementing a five year program
designed to target and mitigate conflict threats in key urban
centers in South Sudan (Malakal, Juba and Aweil), and in the Three
Areas (Kauda, Kadugli and Abyei.) Pact conducted a series of
on-the-ground assessments in each location. Based on this
information, Pact identified local actors and interventions to
address the conflicts. Not all conflicts are within Pact's scope
and mandate. Some of the identified issues will need to be resolved
at the governmental level. The South Sudan Peace Commission
supports Pact's analysis and has agreed to raise the issues to
relevant GOSS and SPLA/M powerbrokers.

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3. (U) Some of the conflict sources identified in the assessment
apply across South Sudan and the Three Areas and are related to
long-standing inter-ethnic tensions, political rivalries, tribalism,
and access and competition for resources. Others are grounded in
current political competition between the National Congress Party
(NCP) and SPLM (Sudan People's Liberation Movement) and tensions
between SAF and SPLA forces in the Joint Integrated Units (JIUs). In
addition, Pact identified conflict threats that are specific to each
of the six locations in which they are working, some of which are
outlined below.

4. (U) Malakal, Upper Nile: Pact identified tensions between the
Nuer and Shilluk communities in Malakal, which are based on
long-standing historical conflicts, ethnic differences and false
perceptions, as a potential source of localized conflict. There are
issues of competition related to access to water and grazing rights,
which are exacerbated by inter-ethnic tensions. Conflict related to
county boundaries and tensions between Southern and Arab traders are
based on competition for resources, inter-ethnic tensions, and the
sense of historical inequity. The rivalry in Fangak (Jonglei state)
between supporters of SSDF leader General Gabriel Chan (nicknamed
Tangiena) and Commissioner John Maluit already led to violence in
November 2006 and could lead to further conflict if not resolved.
Conflicts between Dinka Ngok and Dinka Dongjol, as well as
intra-Shilluk tensions are potentially more explosive due to the
presence of arms among these groups. The formation and deployment
of GoS-supported Oil Defense Forces around oil fields in Maban and
Malut counties in the northern part of Upper Nile are a further
source of concern for residents of the state. And finally, tensions
between returnees and residents are growing due to cultural clashes,
competition for resources, and general vulnerability and poverty.

5. (U) Juba, Central Equatoria: Some of the potential areas of
conflict in Juba are similar to those in other locations, such as
the presence of armed groups, competition for land and grazing
rights, tension around county boundaries, and competition for
resources. However, Juba has specific issues that are related to
its function as the capitol of Southern Sudan. Pact identified
competition between the GOSS and the government of the state of
Central Equatoria related to decentralization of power, lack of
resources and inadequate service delivery, as a potential problem.
Tensions around access to land and grazing rights are exacerbated by
extensive "land grabbing" that is occurring in Juba town. SSPC
concurred strongly with this point and even called land issues a
complicated problem that could lead to violence and impact severely
on both GOSS and the Government of Central Equatoria state. IDPs
have established temporary accommodations around Juba and are being
threatened with forcible removal. Corruption, the perception of
tribal favoritism (perceived Dinka dominance of GOSS), alleged
nepotism and economic changes (rise in prices of basic commodities,
housing) highlight the gap between the wealthy and poor and could
lead to lack of confidence in the GOSS and general discontent. Pact
flagged a number of issues as potential areas of conflict, such as:
(1) the plan to lay off 7,000 state-level civil servants in Central
Equatoria state; (2) the 4,000 ex-Sudan Armed Forces members who
refuse to join SAF and move to the north and now remain in Juba;
and (3) rumblings about perceived trade dominance by foreigners in
Juba's markets.

6. (U) Aweil, Northern Bahr e Ghazal: Aweil town, in which numerous
tribes co-exist, has similar issues as Malakal and Juba. Among
these are the slow integration of the SPLA and SAF forces into the
JIU, competition over resources and perceived inter-ethnic
inequities, abundance of arms, and perceptions of corruption and
nepotism among civil servants. In addition, Pact identified tensions

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among youth, who feel alienated and have contributed to a rise in
crime, in some cases through organized criminal activity. Northern
Bahr e Ghazal is receiving a large number of returnees, either IDPs
or returning refugees, who are coming back with differing levels of
support. Many are being brought back by the state government,
church groups or local organizations. They are returning to an
inhospitable environment that can barely support the existing
population. This is creating increased tensions and hardship for
residents and returnees.

7. (U) Three Areas (Kauda, Kadugli, and Abyei): Pact noted that
communities in the Three Areas were polarized around their
affiliation with either the NCP or the SPLM. Similar to other
locations, there are tensions between the SAF and SPLA forces in the
JIUs. In Kauda and Agok, south of the Kiir River where the SPLA had
its headquarters during the war, there are growing tensions within
the SPLA due to pay discrepancies between SPLA "mother forces" and
SPLA police. In Kadugli, there is friction between the SPLA and
People's Defense Forces, a militia, which has not been disbanded or
integrated into the SAF or SPLA. Similar to Aweil, there are
concerns in both Kadugli and Kauda over idle and unemployed youth,
some of whom joined the SPLA with the expectation of filling SPLM
posts after the integration of the civil service. They are
dissatisfied with the pace of the implementation of the CPA. Pact
identified inter-ethnic conflicts and concerns about nepotism as a
key issue in all three locations. In Kadugli, Pact believes that
some ethnic groups (Julud and Hawazma) are feeling under-represented
in governmental structures. In Kauda, according to Pact, the SPLA
is under pressure to intervene to protect vulnerable Nuba
communities from attacks by armed nomads in the areas of Kawaliib,
Wernang, and Abu Kershola and the Goz area north west of Dilling.
The lack of an agreed administration in Abyei is creating tensions
among all ethnic groups and the lack of clarity on boundaries is
intensifying competition and inter-ethnic rivalries for land access
and grazing rights. In Kadugli, there are conflicts over access to
gum Arabic harvesting.

8. (U) Pact has identified a number of local organizations in each
location with which they plan to work on localized conflict
resolution and reconciliation activities. Additionally, the SSPC
will be utilizing the analysis to identify government-sponsored
efforts to address conflicts and potential threats that are beyond
the ability of Pact. The partnership between Pact and SSPC is
growing into a constructive and supportive relationship. Pact will
continue to work on refining its efforts to work with local groups
and activities to target key threats that could impact on the
implementation of the CPA at the local level.


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