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Cablegate: Humanitarian Agencies Watch Security Situation

VZCZCXRO8261
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV
RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1511 2691309
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261309Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8645
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001511

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPKO MARR AU UN SU
SUBJECT: HUMANITARIAN AGENCIES WATCH SECURITY SITUATION


1. (SBU) On September 20, a convoy of two humanitarian
vehicles were ambushed by unknown assailants in South Darfur
on the main road between Nyala and Kass. Eight members of
the NGO World Vision International (WVI), a USAID funded NGO,
were in the convoy. The vehicles, clearly marked as
humanitarian, were fired upon by two armed men who attacked
the vehicles with automatic weapons, World Vision
International Operations Director Mario Rodrigues told
poloff. Three WVI staffers were wounded.

2. (SBU) On September 24, Rodrigues said that there were no
fatalities but one of the three wounded remained in critical
condition. He added that the attackers proceeded to rob the
wounded and other passengers, but when a third unknown
vehicle approached the ambush site, the attackers fled
leaving the WVI vehicles. This attempted hijacking comes
within a week after a hijacking at gunpoint of a WVI vehicle.
There were no injuries during this hijacking.

3. (SBU) Separately, on September 25, local media claimed
that the OXFAM Country Program Manager Caroline Nursey
"threatened" to pull out of Darfur over deteriorating
security conditions. Nursey told poloff that the local press
reports are simply "not true" and misquoted her recent BBC
interview. She told the BBC interviewer that several months
ago, when security problems were at a peak, OXFAM prepared
contingency plans to reduce operations and assessed its then
current operational profile, concluding that while at the
level of "extreme risk," OXFAM would remain because of the
high level of need. Nursey added that in the past two to
three weeks, the situation has again deteriorated. "We are
keeping watch on this."

4. (SBU) Comment: In the past two weeks, coinciding with the
ending of the rainy season, observers believe there is a
discernible up-tick in armed attacks on civilians,
particularly in Darfur. UN reports state that attacks
against relief workers nationwide have increased by 150
percent over last year. Observers believe that armed
bandits, with the ending of the rainy season and before the
deployment of the UN hybrid military force, might continue
their raids on civilians and humanitarian workers alike. On
September 24, the High Level Committee on Humanitarian Aid,
as part of their regular meeting, noted among other issues
the recent rise in security related incidents. Justice and
Equality Movement (JEM) leader Dr. Khalil Ibrahim said on
September 26 that his group plans to continue fighting up to,
and through the upcoming Darfur peace talks. End Comment.
FERNANDEZ

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