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Cablegate: Under-Age Recruitment in Darfur Refugee Camps

VZCZCXRO8583
RR RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHNJ #0752 2691436
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261436Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5741
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 0529
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0756
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0934

UNCLAS NDJAMENA 000752

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR PRM/AFR MARGARET MCKELVEY, GEOFFREY PARKER;
GENEVA FOR PRM KATHERINE PERKINS;
NAIROBI FOR USAID JACK MYER;
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM CD SU
SUBJECT: UNDER-AGE RECRUITMENT IN DARFUR REFUGEE CAMPS


1. (SBU) Summary: UNHCR protection officers in Darfur refugee
camps in Farchana and Iriba report recent incidents of
recruitment of under-age combatants for Sudanese rebel
movements. Chadian officials assert that they are working to
prevent recruitment and ensure the civilian character of the
refugee camps but UNHCR officials believe that some Chadian
authorities are complicit. End Summary.

2. (SBU) During a September 15-21 field visit in eastern
Chad, PolOffs met with UNHCR protection officer Daniela
Raiman and UNHCR Representative Emmanuel Uwurukundo at the
local UNHCR field offices in Iriba and Farshana. Raiman said
that it is readily apparent to UNHCR staff that Sudanese
rebels (mostly JEM) recruit in refugee camps. The rebels use
the camps as R and R locations, where their wives (many are
polygamous) and children live and are cared for. Raiman said
that there is pressure for boys (ages unknown) to join rebel
groups and that this can be difficult to prevent from
happening since NGO and UN personnel return to their compound
at dusk and are not in the camps on the weekends. Raiman
said further that this is being done with the apparent
blessing of Chadian authorities. Raiman cited the fact that
operatives representing Sudanese rebels who recently entered
the Kou Kou camp had letters signed by Sous-Prefects
authorizing them to visit the camps. It is believed that
recruitment is done on a commission basis. UNHCR Chief in
Iriba Uwurukundo reported that the Minister of Mines and
Energy (formerly Minister of the Interior), Mahamat Ali
Nassour had visited Guereda, Iriba and Bahai camps to conduct
a &fact-finding mission.8 UNHCR staff suspected rather
that his delegation was involved in recruitment.

3. (SBU) UNHCR has on several occasions communicated its
concern on camp recruitment to the Chadian authorities.
UNHCR has also been conducting awareness campaigns in the
camps and has visited camp schools to inform children of the
dangers. Additionally, PolOffs raised the subject with the
Prefect of Kobe who strongly condemned anyone participating
in such activities. He mentioned an ongoing investigation in
Touloum camp, adding that four suspects were &under
scrutiny8 for participating in such activities. If the
refugees were more forthcoming, Chadian officials would
immediately pick up those suspected of recruitment and hand
them over to the judicial system, said the Prefect.

4. (SBU) Comment: Unless UNHCR and the government of Chad
move the camps further away from the border, rebels will
continue to have direct access to a young recruitment pool.
Given the prevailing martial culture and lack of other
employment opportunities, it is a very susceptible pool.
TAMLYN

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