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Cablegate: Oil Company Vice President Confirms Rebel Attack

VZCZCXRO9326
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1664 2981506
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 251506Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8936
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001664

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

AF/SPG, SE NATSIOS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PGOV SU
SUBJECT: OIL COMPANY VICE PRESIDENT CONFIRMS REBEL ATTACK
ON DEFRA OIL FACILITY

1. (SBU) On October 25, the Vice President of the Greater
Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), Dr. Yousif Mohamed
Ahmed, confirmed that a rebel force took two GNPOC
contractors and two Sudanese drivers hostage on October 24.
Ahmed was not able to confirm that the rebels were tied to
the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), though JEM's website
posted news stories attributing the kidnappings to them.
According to Ahmed, Egyptian and Iraqi GNPOC contractors were
taken captive along with two Sudanese drivers and two
vehicles. (Note: Newspaper reports stated that the GNPOC
contractors are of Iraqi and Canadian nationality. Ahmed
stated that the Egyptian contractor may have dual
Egyptian-Canadian nationality.) Ahmed stated that GNPOC
representatives spoke to the Egyptian and Iraqi hostages
yesterday and that they are being properly treated and are in
good condition. Contrary to Sudan Tribune reports, Ahmed
reported that no Sudanese Armed Force soldiers died in the
attack.

2. (SBU) Ahmed noted that his company experienced a similar
attack before Ramadan. He stated that his company negotiated
with rebels and eventually paid ransom for their release. He
said his company is reluctant to pay ransom again as it only
encourages further kidnappings. In his current consultations
with the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Government of Sudan,
Ahmed stated that he has asked SAF to refrain from violence
in retaking the hostages and to focus on negotiations.

3. (SBU) Ahmed did not appear overly concerned about the
kidnappings, and said "These things happen fairly frequently
in oil producing states such as Sudan."

4. (SBU) On a separate matter, Ahmed said sensationalist
Sudanese newspaper reports such as that in "Akhir Lahza"
about the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) incursion
into Hegleig oil field are "totally unfounded." He stated
that this was just a routine SPLA troop movement, and that
his company even supports such movements by occasionally
providing water and food to them.
FERNANDEZ

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